LC, a source of inspiration
by Karin Rabara
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.