Le Corbusier @ Centre Pompidou

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.

A colorful painting by Le Corbusier representing the Modulor, a system of proportions based on the human scale devised by the master architect.

A colorful painting by Le Corbusier representing the Modulor, a system of proportions based on the human scale devised by the master architect.

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.

Le Corbusier, Wall painting for the Jean Badovici’s house in Vezelay, 1935-1936.

Le Corbusier, Wall painting for the Jean Badovici’s house in Vezelay, 1935-1936.

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.

Le Corbusier drawing and explaining his Modulor in a video shown in the exhibition.

Le Corbusier drawing and explaining his Modulor in a video shown in the exhibition.

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.

Left, a table designed by the Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Perriand trio, and on the right, an armchair hovering above a chaise longue, designed by the same group. Designers of the exhibition tried different approaches here by elevating the table from one side while hanging the armchair high above on the wall, definitely a livelier style than having all the furniture on the ground.

Left, a table designed by the Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Perriand trio, and on the right, an armchair hovering above a chaise longue, designed by the same group. Designers of the exhibition tried different approaches here by elevating the table from one side while hanging the armchair high above on the wall, definitely a livelier style than having all the furniture on the ground.

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.

A Corbusier-inspired structure separates the last two sections of the exhibition. Beautiful exhibition design by Pompidou.

A Corbusier-inspired structure separates the last two sections of the exhibition. Beautiful exhibition design by Pompidou.

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.

Left, an eccentric sculpture made of wood by Corbusier, and on the right, an epic pose by the master architect, which also marks the end of the exhibition.

Left, an eccentric sculpture made of wood by Corbusier, and on the right, an epic pose by the master architect. Naked Corbusier marks the end of the exhibition.

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.

 

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1 Comment Le Corbusier @ Centre Pompidou

  1. Karina

    Yes, Le Corbusier made some nice things, ivnnoated, had some revolutionary plans for what a big city (like Paris) should look like (for Paris, fortunately not realised)… A problem is still that his buildings often have an ageing problem. They need permanent maintaining, painting, renovating… and this is far from always the case. If his villas often have nice lines, they are very “cold” inside. Not really “cosy”. I have also strong doubts on his collective bildings in general. I think his major contribution is his wakening up of completely new and different ways of considering what the habitat should be. This is already considerable. I think however that several of his followers and colleagues did better. Anyhow, a great bravo for this very complete post … as usual!(Yes, I could not open the “walk”, just got a message to install some adobe tools, which I already have. Maybe it’s anyhow a problem with my PC?)

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