The exhibition Le Corbusier and the Age of Purism focuses on his life and work as a painter and a leader of the Purism movement. Extolling the virtues of functionality and form, Purism tried to create universal rules and add rationalism to painting and architecture. It was heavily influenced by Cubism, but aimed to make art and architecture more cerebral, measured, and controlled.
The exhibition progresses in chronological order, starting in the 19th Century Gallery with models, pictures, and CG of some of Le Corbusier’s more important works such as the “domino house” Maison Dom-Ino (1914), as well as his urban scale redesign of Paris. On the second floor, we are ushered through his time at the art and architecture magazine L’Esprit Nouveau, which he founded with the Cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant, the person who had the biggest influence on the formation of Le Corbusier the artist. The second floor then proceeds with paintings from early Purism, Purism in conversation with the Cubists, works from the time of the split between Purism’s founders (the “end” of Purism), and the lasting effects of Purism in architecture and design.
This exhibition asks us to look at the similarities between Le Corbusier’s art and architecture and how his Purist pieces were to influence his architecture. Was his distortion of objects an influence of architectural drawing, in which an object is represented so that all sides can be seen and the whole understood? Were the flowing, connected lines between objects a metaphor for the flowing spaces of the grand promenade? Was his later interest in transparency an attempt to create depth, as he did with his own spaces?