The retrospective exhibition Le Corbusier: Mesures de l’homme at Centre Pompidou is a must see for those interested in Le Corbusier himself. Rather than only focusing on his architectural works, the exhibition also presents his career as an artist and exhibits an ensemble of paintings, furniture, sketches, models and sculptures of the influential architect Le Corbusier who was also an urban planner, theorist, sculptor and a painter.
Le Corbusier’s focus on the human body as an inspiration for design and proportions is the main theme of the exhibition, which starts with his paintings and sketches and continues in a chronological fashion by telling his story based on the evolution of his art. And some of his artistic works are simply fantastic.
Contents of the exhibition are plenty and interesting. The richness of the exhibited objects are supported by videos of Le Corbusier, some showing him explaining his modulor, whereas in another he talks about life in his workshop.
Furniture designed by Corbu and his partners Pierre Jeanneret (who also happens to be his cousin) and Charlotte Perriand are also among the displayed. Here we find out that actually these furniture were the product of a collaboration and are not solely made by Corbusier.
All the Corbusier’s early paintings are signed with the name Jeanneret, which was Corbusier’s real surname. He was born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. Unfortunately we don’t get to find out why Monsieur Jeanneret adopted the pseudonym Corbusier which is one of the shortcomings of the exhibition.
Another problem in the exhibition was the English translations of the texts. Although the introductory texts of each section were also presented in English, many of the regular labels were not. Videos did not have English subtitles. The lack of English subtitles is somewhat ridiculous considering the size of the whole Pompidou enterprise. If this is a result of stereotypical French arrogance in the age of Anglo-Saxon supremacy, then it looks quite funny in a serious institution like Centre Pompidou.
Overall, the Le Corbusier exhibition at the Pompidou is a recommended visit and a must-see for Corbusier enthusiasts. Its emphasis on Corbusier’s career as an artist in addition to his seminal works on architecture presents a fascinating aspect of the visionary architect.