Since early 2007 we've been hearing about this huge Le Corbusier exhibition to take place in the crypts of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. In June 2007 stories that it might be canceled for fear that the humidity levels might ruin the archives, had us thinking, 'Why would anybody want to put on a modernist architecture exhibition in the crypt of a cathedral?' But it wasn't until we arrived in Cultural Capital of '08 for the opening of the city's fifth biennial that we understood.
The modernist cathedral was built by Sir Frederick Gibberd, who was himself greatly influenced by Le Corbusier.
More after the jump.
Organised by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the exhibition explores the creative process behind his most important projects, with previously unpublished material including original film footage by the architect, and reconstructions of his architectural models. It also focuses on Le Corbusier's concept of the synthesis of arts - fusing art, architecture, design, urban planning, film and other disciplines into a creative view of the contemporary environment - a concept that helped shape the twentieth century. Artworks by contemporaries including Charlotte Perriand, Jean Prouve, Fernand Leger, amongst others, place the man and his influence in context.
Divided into three sections - 'Contexts', 'Privacy and Publicity' and 'Built Art' - the exhibition focuses on major themes in Le Corbusier's work, such as his ongoing interest in the Mediterranean and the Orient, his shift toward organic forms in the 1930s, and his exploration of new technologies and media. Illustrating the creative process that determined his most important projects, the exhibition identifies Le Corbusier's historical sources and his underlying technical and philosophical preoccupations and themes.
Among the show's highlights are the monumental mural painting from Le Corbusier's own office at Rue de Sevres in Paris, a large-scale model of the Philips Pavilion (1958) that reflects Le Corbusier's anticipation of today's computer-generated architecture, original film footage shot by the architect in Arcachon and Rio de Janeiro, and a reconstruction of the model of Le Corbusier's utopian master plan for Paris, the Plan Voisin (1925), which established his reputation as one of the most advanced and controversial thinkers of his time.
Opening today, Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture runs until January 18, 2009 and is curated by Le Corbusier scholars, Stanislaus von Moos, Arthur Ruegg and Mateo Kries, for Vitra Design Museum, Basel, in collaboration with the RIBA Trust and the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam.
Photos courtesy of RIBA.