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Exhibition in Marseille emphasizes the different facets of artist-architect Le Corbusier
A visitor looks at a painting by Le Corbusier included in the exhibition "La question du brutalisme" in Marseille. The exhibition opened on October 11 and lasts until the end of December. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT.

MARSEILLE.- To mark the re-opening of the J1 maritime hangar, Marseille-Provence 2013 presents the major exhibition Le Corbusier and Brutalism.

After Mediterraneans. From Yesterday’s Cities to Today’s Men, an exhibition which welcomed close to 112 000 visitors between January 12 and May 26, Marseille-Provence 2013 celebrates one of the most esteemed architects of the 20th century: Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier.

The man who inspired the concept of the Unité d’Habitation – the Housing Unit - was born in Switzerland in 1887, received his French citizenship in 1930, and died in the south of France in 1965. During his prolific career, Le Corbusier designed 70 buildings on three continents and wrote numerous books on architecture and its theory. For the general public, Le Corbusier is known as ‘the concrete architect’ because after World War II he embraced the material and its unrefined - or ‘brut’ in French - surfaces. Critics baptized the work as ‘brutalist’ and an architectural movement was born.

The exhibition emphasizes the different facets of this unique artist-architect who along with his design work also pursued drawing, urbanism, painting, and sculpture. Fascinated by the Mediterranean, Le Corbusier was attracted by the cosmopolitan nature of Marseille and his multiple connections to the city are explored in the exhibition.

Le Corbusier and Brutalism covers the period from 1935 to 1965 and presents more than 250 of the architect’s works: 133 original blueprints, 54 drawings and sketches, 33 paintings, 14 sculptures, 10 enamels, 4 tapestries, and 19 architectural models, as well as close to 100 photographs taken at Le Corbusier’s building sites.

Jacques Sbriglio, the renowned Marseille architect who curated the exhibition, notes that it has been staged « to render homage to the exploits of Le Corbusier, not to exploit his reputation … the staging of Le Corbusier’s oeuvre takes advantage of the white space and uses the openings to the outside to introduce the light and sun that are so particular to Marseille.’

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