Le Corbusier | The artist | Inspiration
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LC, a source of inspiration


by Karin Rabara

My first encoun­ter with the crea­tive work of Le Cor­bu­sier was in 1995 during my trai­ning as an archi­tec­tu­ral drafts­man. Our class visi­ted an exhi­bit in Pay­erne, where we also had the oppor­tu­nity to view some of Le Corbusier’s tapestries. As I wan­de­red through the show I was aware that some­thing was occur­ring inside of me: the tapestries were rive­ting, but I was hardly able to belie­ver that the archi­tect Le Cor­bu­sier had pro­du­ced them. Archi­tect AND artist? It was a reve­la­tion and also path brea­king, as I was later to find out… 


At the begin­ning of my archi­tec­tu­ral stu­dies in Lucerne I tra­ve­led through France, Spain, and Por­tu­gal, during which time I visi­ted Le Corbusier’s priory Sainte-Marie de la Tou­rette. When I got there, it loo­ked to me like a monu­ment out of raw con­crete, a hea­vy­weight that had lan­ded in a soft land­scape. I was con­scious of having the same fee­ling as in 1995: here Le Corbusier’s strength beco­mes tan­gi­ble.


But it was any­thing but a colos­sus. Ever­y­thing was at play. The light, the forms, the har­mo­nic dimen­si­ons. A sen­si­tive soul was behind it. And I was part of it when, for two nights, I stayed there. In a monk’s cell, as wide as I could reach with my two arms stret­ched out. The Modu­lar was pal­pa­bly embo­died in me: the human dimen­si­ons! Was this archi­tec­ture? Was the artist LC at work here as well? I wasn’t sure whe­ther there was more art or more archi­tec­ture going on here. Or whe­ther, well, sim­ply both. From that time on, I saw Le Cor­bu­sier as being indi­vi­si­ble in all that he did. 


It was not long before I found mys­elf giving up my study of archi­tec­ture and star­ting out on an inquiry into Le Corbusier’s work. A job offer by Heidi Webers of Centre Le Cor­bu­sier in Zurich made it pos­si­ble. For two year, I worked daily in this unusual, last buil­ding of Le Corbusier’s. Here, this syn­the­sis, a Gesamt­kunst­werk, united archi­tec­ture, art, script, and fur­nis­hings. Every day, I was cap­ti­va­ted, ent­hral­led, or even fee­ling com­ple­tely hel­pless in the face of this uni­ver­sal genius. The archi­tect in the ser­vice of poe­try. The artist just as much so. It became clear to me: this wasn’t going to let me go. 


After the inten­sive time in the museum, I gave mys­elf a break. The wealth of inspi­ra­tion deman­ded a peace­ful work­place, which I found in archi­tec­ture offices. During this time I met my future hus­band, who from my sto­ries about Le Cor­bu­sier could hardly grasp what it was that affec­ted me so much. This sud­denly chan­ged when, on the occa­sion of the birth of our daugh­ter, he star­ted loo­king for a signed gra­phic of Le Corbusier’s for me. He rese­ar­ched, read about, and lear­ned about the artist Le Cor­bu­sier – it went on for months, and it chan­ged him noti­ce­ably. The renown of the artist LC was a mere frac­tion of his renown as an archi­tect!


In 2006, Le Cor­bu­sier has caught up to me again in the form of a gif­ted gra­phic. My hus­band, now infec­ted, nou­ris­hed my pas­sion. And he reco­gni­zed that LC’s arti­s­tic work bears a poten­tial that has not yet been exploi­ted ade­qua­tely on the art mar­ket. We did not hesi­tate for long: it became his utmost con­cern to collect, rese­arch, and cate­go­rize the arti­s­tic work of Le Cor­bu­sier, to take care of it and to dis­play it, to make it avail­able to those inte­rested. Even today, this con­ti­nues to be a pas­sion.