reinterpreting Le Corbusier’s controversial legacy
Le Corbusier’s famous Cité Radieuse in Marseille hosts an extraordinary art and design exhibition nicknamed “Legacies”. On view until July 2, the exhibition coincides with the 70th anniversary of the architectural masterpiece designed by the father of modern architecture in 1952. For this exhibition, Galerie Philia has invited eight renowned designers — Pietro Franceschini , Rick Owens and Arno Declerq, among others — create new pieces that reflect and reinterpret Le Corbusier’s modernist theories and principles.
all images © Maison Mouton Noir_courtesy of Galerie Philia_courtesy of Le Corbusier Foundation, © FLC ADAGP, Paris, 2022, unless otherwise indicated
animate a dialogue of resonances and dissonances
Le Corbusier’s theories and concepts have been questioned, approved and criticized. Thus, ‘Heritages’ seeks to animate a dialogue of ‘resonances’ and ‘dissonances’ between contemporary artists, designers, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture.
Philia Gallery curated (see more here), the exhibition brings together eight international artists and designers, inviting them to produce works around its approaches and theories. Therefore, the exhibition not only serves as a tribute to his identical aesthetic, but also as a creative visual response to his urban planning and architectural principles, also considering his impacts on contemporary design and the visual arts.
two adjoining controversial rooms
The works of art are distributed in two adjacent rooms of an apartment with large bay windows, built according to the principles of the “Modulor” of the French architect of Swiss origin. The first room is organized under the theme ‘resonances’, and hosts elements serving as an extension of the legacy and historical heritage of Le Corbusier. The series includes a bronze candlestick of Rick Owens; an armchair of Pietro Franceschini with pure but functional volumes in bright yellow; a minimalist sculptural sofa by Arno Declerq in steel – a material often used by the brutalist architect – and a light in brass by Paul Matter created using Corbusier’s Modulor proportion system.
The other room is dedicated to “dissonances”. As the name suggests, designers were asked to create objects that critically recall Le Corbusier’s theories of standardization and regularity. The series includes an uneven ceramic table by Jojo Corvaia; a pedestal table serrated by Roxane Lahiji made of salt; an oak work sculpted by Jerome Pereira challenge balance in motion; and a pair of hammered bronze candlesticks by Nicholas Wolf.
Alongside this set, a series of modern and contemporary works by Sam Szafran, Fabrice Hyber and Flora Temnouche are revealed in this room. Finally, three other pieces, echoing Le Corbusier’s signature style, complete the exhibition. This art assemblage consists of works by Edgar Sarin, Mateo Revillo and the original print “Le Chevalier” by Pablo Picasso made in 1948.
“Le Corbusier is considered one of the most influential historical figures in contemporary design. Either by affiliation or by disaffiliation, all the works in this exhibition question his work and his legacy, and intend to respond to his theoretical but also polemical genius. says Ygaël Attali, co-founder of Galerie Philia.