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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Don't miss Le Corbusier in Seoul... The artist, not the urban planner!

Voluptuous sculptures, delicate aquarels, explosions of forms and colors...

... frankly, these are not the first things that come to mind when you think Le Corbusier and Seoul. For me, the association rather suggests that radical 1925 Plan Voisin for Paris, where he imagined the destruction of two square miles at the center of the capital to make room for what now looks like your classic Seoul New Town:

This model for Corbu's Plan Voisin (1925) looks like most 2016 mock ups in Seoul new town model houses. And Jeanneret would turn in his grave if he saw how his pilotis are used and abused across the Korean capital...

But mercifully, the not-to-be-missed exhibition at Seoul Arts Center doesn't venture into that particular dimension of Le Corbusier's amazingly prolific mind.

Le Corbusier Special Exhibition
Hangaram Design Museum (
2016.12.06(TUE) - 2017.03.26(SUN) - 11:00-19:00 (MAR 11:00-20:00)
Corbu time. Inauguration of Le Corbusier expo at Seoul Arts Center (With Antoine Picon - 20161206 -
If I braced for something big, I certainly didn't expect anything that overwhelming. This isn't an exhibition, but a full art museum devoted to a bulimic absorber of cultural influences, encompassing almost all forms of art, architecture being almost reduced to a pleasant background music, flowing naturally as the artist's lightest composition.

Many works have never been exhibited, and this prefigures an actual Le Corbusier museum in a much wider way than say last year's retrospective in Paris... even if the poster looks familiar (and even if, somehow, that one also struck a musical chord):

The weird music of architecture: these days you can play Le Corbusier on a Renzo Piano - Centre Pompidou, Paris (20150707 -

Flanking commissioner and Ronchamp expert Daniele Pauly, Ambassadors Linus von Castelmur (Switzerland) and Fabien Penone (France). Special mention to the former for elegantly mentioning in his opening speech even the most controversial sides of Corbu, as all nations and the UNESCO celebrate his cultural impact*

Many of Corbu artworks echo great artists (Picasso, Braque, Schiele..), but I have a weakness for this almost childish 'Paysage parisien imaginaire' (1917) - a dream-nightmare-ish view of Paname blended with Istanbul, with a contrast between colorful life and dark death (hanged man, war plane, constrained ships...)

Significantly, the artist is most celebrated as a great architect in a colorless, side space, under the eyes of Tadao Ando.

C for Corbu - Le Corbusier in Seoul (20161206 -

Anyway, don't you dare miss this major event. And if you happen to pass by Paris, don't miss his appartement-atelier, which literally speaks volume about the man*.
Seoul Village 2016
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* via La Fondation Le Corbusier's website -

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