Published: April 17, 2007
Le Corbusier left numerous architectural icons, clearly demonstrating his importance to modern architecture. But he was also an artist who created a vast array of personal paintings and drawings. There was a constant interplay between his architecture and his art. By covering all of the various facets of this unique individual’s creative output, “Le Corbusier: Art and Architecture †A Life of Creativity,” opening on May 26 at the Mori Art Museum, examines Le Corbusier the man, providing an all-encompassing overview of his achievements.
Le Corbusier was born in 1887 in Switzerland, in time to witness firsthand the frenzy of scientific discovery and technological invention that marked the turn of the Twentieth Century. As the age of mass production dawned, Le Corbusier saw in it the seeds of alienation of the individual and the potential for increasingly inhumane urban development. Perhaps his greatest achievement was to integrate the industrial developments of his time into a more human-friendly framework.
Half of the items on view in “Le Corbusier: Art and Architecture” are his paintings; the other half are models, drawings and photographs depicting his architectural and urban plans. This composition mirrors Le Corbusier’s life. It is little known that Le Corbusier devoted his mornings to painting; architecture only started in the afternoons when he went to his office.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is a number of full-scale reproductions of architectural spaces. The show starts with a walk-in model of his atelier in Paris, complete with furniture and other personal trappings. There is also a full-size reproduction of a two-story apartment from his important “Unité” project in Marseilles, and another of “le Petite Cabanon,” a small wooden hut he built at Cap Martin in the south of France, his final home. Each is large enough for visitors to walk inside, providing a rare chance to experience Le Corbusier’s creations firsthand and view his furniture, paintings and sculptures.
The majority of items on view come from the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris, and the Centre Pompidou; many others come from lenders around the world, including from the Mori Art Collection, which includes a substantial number of drawings, paintings and tapestries assembled by museum founder Minoru Mori.
The show will continue through September 24 at the museum, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku. For information, 03-5777-8600 or www.mori.art.museum .
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