artist / participant

press release

Le Corbusier (1887-1965), widely acclaimed as the most influential architect of the 20th century, was also a celebrated thinker, writer and artist - a multi-faceted ‘renaissance man’. His architecture and radical ideas for reinventing modern living, from private villas to large scale social housing to utopian urban plans, still resonate today.

Le Corbusier — The Art of Architecture is the first major survey in London of the internationally renowned architect in more than 20 years. This timely reassessment presents a wealth of original architectural models, interior reconstructions, drawings, furniture, vintage photographs, films, tapestries, paintings, sculpture and books by Le Corbusier himself. It also features important works by his collaborators and artistic contemporaries such as Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouvé, Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant.

The exhibition charts how Le Corbusier’s work changed dramatically over the years; from his early houses inspired by the regional vernacular of his native Switzerland, the iconic Purist architecture and interiors for which he is best known, his master plan for Paris in the 1920s, the shift to organic forms in the 1930s, and the dynamic synthesis achieved between his art and architecture as exemplified by his chapel at Ronchamp (1950-55), and his civic buildings in Chandigarh, India (1952-64).

Highlights include a monumental mural painting, Femme et coquillage IV (1948) from his own office at Rues de Sèvres, Paris; a reconstruction of his Plan Voisin for Paris (1925); a complete original kitchen by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand from his famous Unité d’habitation, Marseille (1947-50); original models of Ronchamp (1950-55), Unité d’habitation (1945-52), Parliament Building Chandigarh (1951-64) amongst others; and the film version of Le Corbusier and Edgard Varèse’s Poème Electronique (1958).

As Europe’s leading arts centre, Barbican’s celebration of Le Corbusier highlights this connection between the arts with a full programme of concerts, films and talks to accompany the exhibition, including a day presented by the BBC Symphony Orchestra dedicated to the composer Iannis Xenakis who worked as an architect in Le Corbusier’s studio. The exhibition also offers a unique opportunity to see the influence of Le Corbusier’s architecture and ideas on the Barbican complex, designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bonn in the late 1950s.

Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture
Barbican Art Gallery