“Le Corbusier, measures of man” retrospective in Centre Georges Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou invites audiences to get a picture of the entire output of this major figure in modernity through the idea of human proportions, since the human body was a universal principle defining all aspects of architecture and spatial composition.

 

19. Le Corbusier, Le Modulor, 1950 Encre de Chine et collage de papiers gouachés et découpés, 70 x 54 cm Collection Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne © Centre Pompidou / Dist. RMN-GP/ Ph. Migeat © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

Le Corbusier, Le Modulor, 1950 © Centre Pompidou

 

The Centre Pompidou is devoting a completely new retrospective, featuring some three hundred works, to the output of Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, Le Corbusier. Curated by Frédéric Migayrou and Olivier Cinqualbre, the exhibition will be open until the 3rd of August, as one of the highlights of the Paris museum’s summer programme.

Not only a visionary architect, urban planner and theorist of modernity, but also a painter and sculptor, Le Corbusier made a profound impression on the 20th century in dramatically changing architecture and the way it is «inhabited». His international career flourished long before globalisation made its appearance.

 

10. Le Corbusier, Ribot, 1923 Plâtre, 104.5 x 54.5 x 64.5 cm © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 11. Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Planeix Photographie © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 © ADAGP, Paris 2015 © G.Thiriet 12. Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Guiette Photographie © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 © ADAGP, Paris 2015 © Maury

(L) Ribot, 1923 (C) Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Planeix (R) Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Guiette © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 

 

Adopting a decidedly innovative approach, the Centre Pompidou takes a fresh look at the output of this major figure in modernity through the proportions of the human body, which Le Corbusier considered essential as a universal principle. For the architect, this «measurement of man» defined all aspects of architecture and spatial composition.

 

04. Le Corbusier, Étude pour la cheminée, 1918 Cayon graphite sur papier, 57,5 x 71 cm © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 13. Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Weissenhoff Photographie © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015 © ADAGP, Paris 2015 © Dr. Lossen& Co

(L) Le Corbusier, Étude pour la cheminée, 1918 (R) Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Maison Weissenhoff © ADAGP, Paris 2015 

23. Le Corbusier, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, 1955 Maquette, plâtre, 36 x 61 x 56 cm © Centre Pompidou / Dist. RMN-GP / B. Prévost © ADAGP, Paris 2015

 Le Corbusier, Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, 1955  © Centre Pompidou

 

The new approach taken by this exhibition presents every facet of the artist’s work through some 300 paintings, sculptures, drawings, architectural drawings, models, objects, films, photographs and documents – all illustrating the prolific output of this native of the Swiss Jura, who took French citizenship in 1930, and made Paris his home.

Commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of his death, this key exhibition aims to enlighten audiences on the breadth and complexity of Le Corbusier’s work, thinking and humanism.

 

(L) G. Thiriet, Empreinte du Modulor dans le béton. (R) J. Ac,  Empreinte du Modulor dans le béton, Unité d’habitation, Nantes, Rezé © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

(L) G. Thiriet, Empreinte du Modulor dans le béton. (R) J. Ac, Empreinte du Modulor dans le béton, Unité d’habitation, Nantes, Rezé © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

 

Measurements and human bodies: the Modulor

Central to a colossal and multi-faceted body of work was Le Corbusier’s conception of an essential, universal measurement: the thinking, seeing «mass production man». After his studies, notably in Germany, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (the future Le Corbusier) was influenced by the psychophysicists and by theories on scientific aesthetics, which held that everything was measurable, including sensations, cognitive reactions and human psychology. This concept of measurement lay behind the work of the urban planner, architect and furniture designer, and imbued the work of the painter.

Mathematical it might be, but this line of research never strayed from the human being, and adapted itself to human gestures, viewpoints and thought. The «housing unit» invented by Le Corbusier was small but practical, because on a human scale, while furniture became flexible, to accommodate the movements of the body. The eye and mind of the «perceptive» viewer created a Purist picture whose interpretation was intended to be subjective. The human body – or some of its sensitive components – were subjects for painting: often women’s bodies, but also hands, feet and ears.

 

24. Le Corbusier, Unités d’habitation, recherches – façade partielle, 1944 Encre noire, pastel, couleur sur calque moyen, 76.2 x 44.5 cm © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

Le Corbusier, Unités d’habitation, recherches – façade partielle, 1944  © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

 

In 1943, Le Corbusier created the «Modulor», a system of measurement based on the height of the average man: 183 cm, or 226 cm with the arm raised. Promoted through a book entitled The Modulor: A Harmonious Measure to the Human Scale, Universally Applicable to Architecture and Mechanics, published in 1950, the «Modulor» was presented as a philosophical, mathematical and historical truth, as Le Corbusier’s invention echoed traditional systems.

In the centre of the exhibition, the room devoted to the Modulor presents fifty-odd drawings and a number of objects. Between the exploratory drawings on mathematical formalisation and those describing geometrical progressions, the Modulor seems more like a regulating instrument than an abstract standard.

 

02. Rogi André, Le Corbusier, CA. 1937 © Centre Pompidou, G. Meguerditchian 06. Le Corbusier, Guitare verticale (1ère version), 1920  Huile sur toile, 100 x 81cm © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

(L) Rogi André, Le Corbusier, CA. 1937 (R) Le Corbusier, Guitare verticale (1ère version), 1920 © FLC, ADAGP, Paris 2015

 


 

Exhibition Information

LE CORBUSIER, measures de l’homme
29 APRIL – 3 AUGUST 2015
Galerie 2, Level 6

Centre Pompidou
Place Georges-Pompidou,
75004 Paris, Francia

 


 

News Source: Centre Georges Pompidou