Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes
La Font de la Guatlla
Until Sun May 11
© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris/FLC
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Posted: Fri Jan 10 2014
At the age of 77, Le Corbusier went for a swim in the Mediterranean and was swallowed by the sea. It was the summer of 1965, and he'd already spent more than six decades fighting with the landscape. Although he was born in Switzerland, or perhaps because he was born in the geographic centre of Swiss timing, he became a poetic machinist who produced housing accommodation (houses and flats), he conceived enormous cities redrawing the landscape from an airplane, and he transformed reinforced concrete into the dominant material of the modern age.
You can see this, and much more, in the CaixaForum, itself a modernist building apparently far removed from the theories drawn by the man born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1887 – Roquebrune-Cap- Martin, 1965) and widely known by the pseudonym Le Corbusier. 'An Atlas of Modern Landscapes', the subtitle of the exhibition, is the most comprehensive ever seen, and will explain the intention of the curator, Jean-Louis Cohen: architecture, which was less appreciated when engineering got in touch with its creative side, searches for a new space in the urban universe and ends up rooting itself in line with the saying taken from the Goya painting, 'the sleep of reason produces monsters'.
Le Corbusier, as can be seen through objects, models, photographs, drawings, installations and various documents, was a multifaceted creator. His ideology was above the mainstream: he worked for Soviet communists, Italian fascists, South American dictators, governments that weren't in line like India and even France... All this to impose harmonic models like the beloved Modulor via celebrated lectures where, as he spoke, he was also drawing on a never-ending scroll of paper.
Demanding yet liberating, Le Corbusier was one of the fathers of modern architecture. Sert himself was indebted to him, and also, in a less direct way, the same could be said for Bellvitge and Ciutat Badia, and the list goes on.