Inspiration — Le Corbusier | The artist
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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.