[Exposition] Architecte et urbaniste, mais aussi peintre et sculpteur, découvrez dès aujourd'hui notre exposition dédiée à Le Corbusier !https://www.centrepompidou.fr/id/coy8gny/rzyodRb/fr
塞勒弗，勒 · 柯布西耶在他的工作室，巴黎，1961 [Anniversaire] Il y a 127 ans naissant l'architecte helvète Le Corbusierà qui nous consacrons une radieuse exposition à partir d'avril 2015.
Celebrating a Poet of 3 Dimensions
‘Le Corbusier’ Exhibition Opens at Museum of Modern Art
Photograph by Richard Pare, 2013 Artists Rights Society, New York/ADAGP, Paris/FLC.
Published: June 17, 2013
“Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes,” newly installed at the Museum of Modern Art, is really two exhibitions. It’s on the one hand a sprawling introduction to the life and work of this Swiss-born giant, on a scale that MoMA, hard though it may be to believe, has never previously organized. A little pruning might have helped. Hypnotic videos sometimes get noisy, distractingly so. But as an omnibus, long overdue, the show is riveting, fun, a landmark.
At the same time it makes an extended and tendentious argument, defying conventional wisdom and in some cases basic logic, that Le Corbusier, the Cartesian aesthete, maker of “machines for living in,” celebrant of automobiles, biplanes and what he called the “White World,” was in fact an architect “profoundly rooted in nature and landscape,” as the opening text panel to the exhibition announces.
First things first: the show’s curators, Jean-Louis Cohen and Barry Bergdoll, have marshaled hundreds of drawings, watercolors, paintings, models and films, a cornucopia gleaned to a large extent from the Fondation Le Corbusier. They’ve commissioned large-scale photographs by Richard Pare, which are fine but don’t add a great deal, and fabricated full-size reproductions of furnished rooms, which do. There’s nearly everything that could practically be exhibited here, including the proverbial sink, albeit not a kitchen sink but one from the architect’s teeny seaside cabin, abreast the gulf of Monte Carlo, where, in late summer, 1965, when he was 77, after a swim against doctor’s orders, his dead body washed onto the beach.
I thought of that beach while gazing at seashells he collected (a few are in the show), which inspired various paintings and buildings, including the French mountaintop chapel at Ronchamp, with its swooping roof that Le Corbusier likened to a shell, poised atop curved walls of sculptured concrete. “An acoustic landscape,” he once said about the magical relationship of chapel to surroundings.
Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in a provincial Alpine village in 1887, Le Corbusier, as he came to call himself, was one of those deeply insecure, self-heroizing young men, a restless provincial and voracious consumer of everything new. I love his small plein-air landscapes, in imitation of Franz Marc, Klimt and other Modernists, that he painted during his early travels, and also his drawings from Istanbul and Athens: Hagia Sophia and the Acropolis as ghostly outcroppings on pedestal-like hills, the Parthenon a phalanx of towering pillars marching toward the sea. This became his model: pure form raised and set above a clear landscape. When he came upon an old map of Rome, he sketched some of that city’s key monuments extracted from the melee of ancient streets, the city redrawn as if it were a clean slate.
And then he painted a lone white cube above a gray field in 1918 (the Parthenon redux), his touch as delicate as Morandi’s. Le Corbusier became a maker of pure, Cubist form, having evolved his voice from the whitewashed walls and Pentelic marble that he had admired. Everything had been on the table for him from the beginning, including the garden city movement, which he would expunge from his biography like other inconvenient enthusiasms. Now he had a project for life — born, like him, from a place where the air was very thin — and its ambition can still take your breath away, notwithstanding the toll it took on the last century, and this one, too.
To be clear, although he was a whipping boy for Modernism’s failures, Le Corbusier was neither the first to suggest bulldozing Europe’s clotted and decaying capitals in the name of hygiene and urban renewal, nor can he be held any more responsible for the calamitous and sterile housing projects and office parks erected after his death than Michelangelo can be blamed for souvenir “David” boxer shorts. But the architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock, as early as 1929, had reason to fret about Le Corbusier’s polemical writings and the dire influence of his “megalomaniacal” (Hitchcock’s word) plan to level part of central Paris.
The buildings Le Corbusier built were one thing, Hitchcock rightly saw; their refinement, rhythm and serendipity made a three-dimensional poetry at least equal to anything by Picasso. Stripped of ornament, composed from a geometry of ramps, cylinders, columns, ribbon windows and paper-thin walls that act as screens enclosing irregular, immaculate volumes — or rough-hewed walls that conjure up cliffs or caves — his signature buildings are profound modern creations. The Villa Savoye, outside Paris, and the Unité d’Habitation, his housing block in Marseille, only masquerade as formulaic.
“You know, it is always life that is right and the architect who is wrong,” Le Corbusier famously said, acknowledging that ideology mustn’t trump messy reality. But then he also preached the glory of highways and superblocks in denuded landscapes, and in retrospect it’s hard to believe generations of architects, politicians and planners took him to heart. It’s the usual case of nongeniuses fumbling the moves of a virtuoso. They did so partly because he made architecture sound not just utopian and uplifting but also easy; he invented a virtual paint-by-numbers template to which his own singular and subtle buildings gave the lie.
Which gets back to the show’s “rooted in nature” argument. Le Corbusier did think of nature and landscape, in his way. Not just by alluding to shells or orienting a chapel to its perch in a forest. You can see a link to nature on the roof of l’Unité, an immense Cubist sculpture, geology abstracted in concrete, with a raised parapet that brackets a vista of Marseille so that the building becomes a noble kind of mini-city between mountains and sea.
An awareness of surroundings, however ruthless, is apparent in his model for a Palace of the Soviets (1931-32), its high-low mix of forms alluding to the river and the towers of the Kremlin, next door. The four blocks Le Corbusier envisioned on the shore of Buenos Aires strive to exploit a watery approach to the city from the Rio de la Plata.
And from the Villa Savoye to the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard (whose curving ramp summons to mind aerial drawings he did years earlier of meandering rivers), his buildings forever orchestrate views and the interplay of indoor and outdoor space.
But this landscape argument only goes so far with someone whose notion of context also extended to demolishing the Rue de Rivoli, the Opéra, Les Halles and the Place de la Madeleine and replacing them with a tabula rasa for giant cruciform towers, a sea of housing blocks and motorways — not to mention what he had in mind for the waterfront of Algiers.
The exhibition is a provocation, which is healthy. That said, Le Corbusier is too contradictory and controlling a genius to conform to nature or any curator’s thesis.
So he lives on through the clarity and eloquence of his best buildings, whose ideas resonate, even while progressive city planners have left his more outrageous proposals behind. The cultish popularity of his cell-like apartments in Marseille and Berlin, harbingers of micro-housing that cities now struggle to reinvent, suggests that while he’s no longer the influence he used to be, he’s an architect for our time.
He lives on because we still can’t live without him.