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Le Corbusier and Photography

Author(s): Beatriz Colomina


Source: Assemblage, No. 4 (Oct., 1987), pp. 6-23
Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3171032 .
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Beatriz Colomina
Le Corbusier and
Photography

Beatriz Colomina is Adjunct Assistant The MechanicalEye


Professorat Columbia Universityand a
Consulting Editor of Assemblage. Thereis a still fromDzigaVertov'smovie"TheManwith
the MovieCamera"in whicha humaneye appearssuper-
imposedon the reflectedimageof a cameralens, indicat-
ing preciselythe pointat whichthe camera- or rather,
the conceptionof the worldthataccompaniesit - disso-
ciatesitselffroma classicaland humanistepisteme.
The traditionaldefinitionof photography, "atransparent
presentation of a real scene," is in
implicit the diagram
institutedby the analogicalmodelof the cameraobscura
- thatwhich wouldpretendto presentto the subjectthe
faithful"reproduction" of a realityoutsideitself.In this def-
inition, photography is investedin the systemof classical
representation. But DzigaVertovhas not placedhimself
behindthe cameralens to use it as an eye, in the wayof a
realisticepistemology.Vertovhas employedthe lens as a
mirror:approaching the camera,the firstthingthe eye sees
is its own reflectedimage.
In film, lightleavesits traceson the sensitiveemulsion,
imprintingon it permanentshadows.The manipulationof
two realities- the superimposition of two stills,both
tracesof materialrealities- producessomethingthatis
alreadyoutsideof the logic of "realism." Ratherthanrepre-
sent reality,it producesa new reality.
Photography and cinemaseem, on firstreflection,to be
2. Still from Dziga Vertov's The "transparent" mediums.But thatwhichis transparent, like
Man with the Movie Camera, the glassin our window,reflects(particularly at ilight)the
1928-29 interiorand superimposes it onto our visionof the exterior.

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1 (frontispiece).Sigmund
Freud'sstudy,Berggasse19,
Vienna,detailof mirrorin the
windownearhisworktable

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assemblage 4

3. View of the Cathedralof


Esztergom. Photograph by
Charles-EdouardJeanneret,
1911, and drawing realized
after it.

The glass functions as a mirrorwhen the camera obscura as the "formativeperiod"but to his entire lifework).A
is lit. journey representsthe possibilityof an encounter with "the
Freud placed in the window of his studio, near his work- other." During Le Corbusier'sfirst trip to Algiers, in the
spring of 1931, he made drawingsof naked Algerian
table, a framed mirror. "The mirror(the psyche) is in the women and acquired postcardsof naked natives surrounded
same plane as the window. The reflection is also a self-
by accoutrementsfrom the oriental bazaar.The Algerian
portraitprojected to the outside world."' Freud's mirror, sketches and postcardsseem, at firstglance, a ratherordi-
placed in the frontierthat separatesinterior from exterior,
undermines its status as a fixed limit. The line of frontier nary instance of the ingrained mode of a fetishistic appro-
is not a limit that separates,excludes, dissociates, . . . a priation of women, of the East, of "the other."As Victor
Cartesian limit; the line of frontieris a figure, a conven- Burgin has written:
tion, its aim is to permit a relation that has to be defined In fetishism,an objectservesin placeof the peniswithwhichthe
continuously, it is a "shadowline."2 childwouldendowthe woman(her'incompleteness' threatening
the child'sown self-coherence). Fetishismthusaccomplishes that
separation of knowledgefrombeliefcharacteristic of representa-
Thinking Photography tion;its motiveis the unityof the subject.. . . The photograph
In the rare cases when criticism has addressedthe subject [ordrawingor postcard] standsto the subject-viewer as doesthe
of Le Corbusierand photographyit has done so from fetishedobject.. . . We knowwe see a two-dimensional surface,
within the position that holds photographyas a transparent we believewe lookthroughit into three-dimensional space,we
medium of representation,oscillating constantlybetween a cannotdo bothat the sametime- thereis a comingandgoing
realistic interpretationof the medium and a formalistinter- betweenknowledgeand belief.4
pretation of the object. Guiliano Gresleri'sLe Corbusier: Le Corbusier,as Stanislausvon Moos has noted, turned
Viaggio in Oriente shares in this critical investment, partic- this material into preparatorystudies for a projectedmonu-
ularly at the delicate point where it takes on the connota- mental figure composition, "the plans of which seem to
tions of a nostalgic album by an amateur photographer.3 have occupied Le Corbusierduring many years, if not his
The subtitle of this book is indicative of a general, conser- entire life."5With the reworkingof his own fetishized
vative concept of artisticproduction, Gli inediti di Charles- drawings, Le Corbusierdissolved the object and opened
Edouard Jeanneretfot'grafo e scrittore.First, "inediti,"un- the way to a more fruitful method of creation,,perhaps
published, hitherto unheard of: Gresleri would seem to reconciling his encounter with the other by re-formingand
maintain the notion that the "original"has not yet been re-presentingit.
relinquished to reproduction,deriving thereby a presum-
Drawing, as has often been noted, plays an essential part
ably higher value. Then, Le Corbusier"fotfgrafo"and in Le Corbusier'sprocess of the "appropriation" of the ex-
"scrittore":Gresleri projects onto Le Corbusier'swork a terior world. "By workingwith our hands, by drawing,"Le
grid that divides knowledge into watertightcompartments, Corbusierwrites, "we enter the house of a stranger,we are
presentinghim as some sort of multitalented individual ca- enriched by the experience, we learn."6And in clear oppo-
pable of producing valuable work in different, specialized sition to a passive, consumeristic, fetishistic use of the
branches of knowledge, and, of course, misses the point.
Le Corbusieras photographer,writer, painter, sculptor, ed- camera, he writes:"When one travelsand workswith vis-
ual things - architecture,painting or sculpture- one
itor, these divisions - often encountered in standardaca- uses one's eyes and draws, so as to fix deep down in one's
demic criticism - mask what is, in fact, Le Corbusier's
nonacademic method of working. experience what is seen. Once the impressionhas been
recordedby the pencil, it stays for good - entered, regis-
This nonacademic method is manifest in Le Corbusier's tered, inscribed. The camera is a tool for idlers, who use a
travels, which played an essential part in his formation (I machine to do their seeing for them."' Certainlystate-
am not referringhere to what is conventionally understood ments such as this (which accompanies some of Le Corbu-

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Colomina

sier's drawingsof his journey to the Orient published in his


late work Creation is a Patient Search)have gained the
architect the reputationof a proverbialphobia of the cam-
era - a reputationso strong as to make the discoveryof
the stock of photographsthat he took while travelingin the
East into a "surprise."Yet it is difficult to understandhow
this view of Le Corbusier could flourish given such evident
manifestos of a sensibility for the photographicimage as X .......
........ J•'
his printed works.
;:i?:: ....J
<:
The material in Viaggio in Oriente reveals the existence of ....
drawings- such as the Cathedralof Esztergomviewed
from the Danube - realized "after"photographs.8This
practice of drawing an image after it has been fixed by the
camera appearsthroughout Le Corbusier'swork, recalling
his no less enigmatic habit of repeatedlysketching his
buildings, even long past their final construction. He
redrewnot only his own photographsbut also those he
encountered in newspapers,catalogues, postcards.The
archives of L'Esprit Nouveau hold numerous sketches on
tracing paper that are obvious reworkingsof found photo-
graphs. These depict such unlikely subjects as horreurs(as ii
Le Corbusierwould have said) like "KhaiDinh, the pres-
ent emperor of Annam" or "The opening of the English
Parliament. The king and queen" (taken from L'Illustre
and reproducedin L'Art dicoratif d'aujourd'hui),side by /
side with a portraitof M. Gaston Doumergue, Presidentof g n
"lp

..
the French Republic.9 - ...........
<
...

...

Apparentlyaimless (these drawingswere not intended for ...

publication), this activity seems to indicate Le Corbusier's


resistanceto a passive intake of photography,to the con-
sumption of images occurring in the world of tourism and
mass media. In the face of an explosion of informationin
the illustratednewspapers,industrialcatalogues, and adver-
tisements- with their pretense to representrealityby ex-
tensive documentation, by the addition of "facts"- Le
Corbusieroperatesby exclusion. In the terms conditioned
by the logic of mass media, a photographdoes not have 4. Photographs from L'lllustre
specific meaning in itself but ratherin its relationshipto of EmperorKhai Dinh and
other photographs,the caption, the writing, and the layout President Gaston Doumerge
and drawings realized after
of the page. As Roland Barthesproposed, "All images are them, with a view to the mise
polysemous;they imply, underlying their signifiers, a 'float- en page of L'Artdecoratif
ing chain' of signifieds, the readerable to choose some and d'aujourd'hui, 1925

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assemblage 4

ignore others. Polysemy poses a question of meaning. ... seen in architecturalmagazines;Le Corbusierwrote to
Hence in every society various techniques are developed L'Eplattenieraskingfor the addressesof modern houses
intended to fix the floating chain of signifieds in such a published in Innen Architekturand Deutsche Kunst: "Illo-
way as to counter the terrorof uncertain signs."'0While gisme, se faire indiquer de La Chaux-de-Fondsdes ad-
photographyas constituted in the mass media is most often dressespour Vienna; tant pis c'est ainsi." L'Eplatteniersent
uncritically received as fact, Barthesfurthermakes clear them reproductionsof Hoffmann interiorsand included
that "the press photographis an object that has been some of the music room designed by one of his students
worked on, chosen, composed, constructed.""Le Corbu- for the Mathey-Dorethouse in La Chaux-de-Fonds.1'
sier takes pleasure in "deconstructing"the images thus
The photographsof the music room disappointedLe Cor-
"constructed,"isolating, for instance, some of them from busier:"They are well done, but how pitiful is the effect!
their original context, an illustratedmagazine or a mail-
Perrinand I were really upset at what photographygives of
order catalogue, and drawingsketchesafter them.12 Again,
the beautiful thing we know."They consoled themselves
the sketch learns from what the photographexcludes. By
by consideringthat their photographsof Florence and
drawing he is obliged to select, to reduce to a few lines the Siena taken a few months earlier, in fall of 1907, had also
details of the image. The preformedimage thus enters Le
been a disappointment:"Andwe have consoled ourselves
Corbusier'screative process, but interpreted.As he himself
with the fact that from our stock of photographsfrom Italy,
would put it:
we do not have a good one of the beautiful architectural
To drawoneself,to tracethe lines, handlethe volumes,organize things [we saw], because the effect of photographsis always
the surface. . . all this meansfirstto look,andthen to observe distortedand offensive to the eyes of those who have seen
and finallyperhapsto discover... and it is then thatinspiration the originals."The opposite was true for the epatant
repro-
maycome. Inventing,creating,one'swholebeingis drawninto ductions of Hoffmann interiors;at firstthey seemed im-
action,and it is this actionwhichcounts.Othersstoodindifferent
- but you saw!" pressive, but they did not withstanda close inspection:
"Lookat the photographic effectof thesehallsanddiningrooms
Drawing is an instrument of the recherchepatiente. It is a of Hoffmann:theyhaveunity,theyaresober,simple,andbeauti-
technique to overcome the obsessive closure of the object, ful. Let'sexamineit closelyandanalyzeit:Whatarethese
to reincorporateit into the process, a processof "no begin- chairs?This is ugly,impractical, and juvenile.These
barbarian,
ning and no end." For Le Corbusierthe process is more wallsof tapedgypsum,likein the arcadesof Padua?This fire-
importantthan the product, as is also apparentin his writ- place, a nonsense.Andthisdresserandthesetablesandevery-
ings, in which he constantly combines the bits and pieces thing?How cold, surly,andstiffit is. Andhow the devilis it
of his thoughts in different contexts, reworkingthem, as if built?
resistinga final form. As Peter Allison once put it, "In
spite of the apparentrepetitiveness,he seldom ever re- The atectonic quality of "modernVienna" shocked and
peated himself exactly."'14 disgustedLe Corbusier,who had been educated in a ver-
nacular craftstradition. "Toute la constructionest masqude
et truqu&e,"he wrote to L'Eplattenier:"The German
Reflection and Perception movement is in search of originalityto the extreme, not
During his firsttrip to Italy and Vienna in 1907-8, Le occupying itself with construction, logic, or beauty. No
Corbusierbecame aware of the difference between archi- point of supportin nature."He recriminatedL'Eplattenier
tecture and its photographicrepresentation.This reflection for having misdirectedhim ("Youhave sent us to Italy to
on representationbecame a constant subject of his letters. educate our taste, to love what is [well] built, what is logi-
In Vienna, where Charles L'Eplattenierhad directed Le cal, and you want us to renounce all this, because of some
Corbusierand his companion Leon Perrin, the travelers impressivephotographsin art magazines"),and suggested
could not find their way to the houses they had previously that he spend fifteen days in Vienna instead of relying on

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Colomina

7. Charles-EdouardJeanneret,
engraved watchcase, c. 1902,
and Omega advertisement in
L'EspritNouveau 2, 1921

Q--?Cr3n~nca Cctqjwf

'1 l;ellrc
cexa"Ei2Viii
! i
? -

Tk- - ,E~~
U.

magazine pictures. As for himself, Le Corbusierdecided to


leave Vienna for Paris to learn construction. "C'estce qu'il
me faut, c'est ma technique." Not surprisingly,he did very
little drawingduring his stay in Vienna.
5. Music room of the Mathey- It is interestinghow close these letters come to Adolf
Doret house, La Chaux-de-
Loos's criticism of photographyand its shortcomingsin
Fonds, interiors by pupils of
CharlesL'Eplattenier,1908 representingarchitecture. In 1910 Loos wrote in "Architek-
tur,""It is my greatestpride that the interiorswhich I have
created are totally ineffective in photographs.. . . I have to
forego the honour of being published in the various archi-
tectural magazines."l6 Loos was reactingto the confusion
between architectureand the image of architectureso
characteristicof the overfed journalsof the Jugendstil. Le
Corbusierwas to go a step furtherthan Loos. In Paris,
more precisely with the experience of L'EspritNouveau,
he came to understandthe press, the printed media, not
only as a medium for the cultural diffusion of something
previouslyexisting, but also as a context of productionwith
its own autonomy. His encounter with the metropolispro-
duced a break with L'Eplattenier'scraftsformationwhere
the object is identified with the world, where the material
carriesthe traces of its maker. Such continuity between
hand and object is inside a classical notion of the artifact
and of the relationshipbetween producerand product.
With industry,mass production, and reproduction,this
continuity is broken, invertingthe relationshipbetween
producerand product. Production in a "consumersociety"
6. Adolf Loos, dining room of
the Steiner house, 1910. As in develops, as Adorno and Horkheimernoted, accordingto a
Freud'sstudy, the mirroris in logic completely internal to its own cycle, to its own repro-
the plane of the window. duction. The main mechanism by which this is accom-

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assemblage 4

plished is the "cultureindustry,"the vehicles of which are


mass media, cinema, radio, publicity, and periodicalpub-
lications.17

Faked Images
Une Villa In L'EspritNouveau 6, Le Corbusierpublished the only
work he ever recognized from his La Chaux-de-Fonds
DE LE CORBUSIER period: La Villa Schwob. (This house, built in 1916, did
not appear in the Oeuvre complete.) In the accompanying
1916 article, Ozenfant, under the pseudonym Julien Caron,
remarkedon the difficulties of capturingarchitecture
through the eye of the camera:"And photography,which
is alreadymisleading when it reproducessurfaces(paint-
'/44"''4~iu4'lt r~-lll
ings), how much more so when it pretendsto reproduce
'lar4'M 444 te.$tX
*' 444'4'4/44'
4/44' ~ll4' 4/4/ 4/4'g~~~I& 41'
"
'R'1 444444D ~:,'-klB i~ak3-:
''444it:? 444 ::"~n

~ ''441 444Ii jT~1444 41444


/4"t~ 44'4'/afc?'4'~a'1' 4'-~i144'? 444'~/'" 28~ volumes." Ironically, the published photographsof this
'44/44444'4444~ia
i 4/4"'' /"?a~ntrli~,fr~
4/444/444 '4'~~t~
/4444x~
4'444
house are trompeuse;indeed, they have been "faked."
m~x:
lP:re~144 4444413fl:~rf
.4l-' 44t3B! 9!.: a~iRElfi~ 1 I

Le Corbusierair brushed the photographsof the Villa


Schwob to adapt them to a more "purist"aesthetic. In the
"facadesur la cour," for instance, he maskedthe pergola
14' "'444'41/uar441 44444 44
e444'4/4
in the court, leaving its white trace on the ground, and
cleared the garden of any organic growth or distractingob-
ject (bushes, climbing plants, and the dog house), reveal-
ing a sharplydefined outer wall. He also modified the
service entrance to the garden, cutting the protrudingvesti-
8. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret,
bule and the angled steps with a straightplane aligned with
the door (a difference observablein the original plans pub-
L'Esprit Nouveau 6, 1921
lished in the same article). The window correspondingto
the vestibule became a pure rectangularopening.18
Le Corbusierdiscardedeverything'thatwas picturesqueand
contextual in this house, concentratingon the formal qual-
ities of the object itself. But the most strikingmodification
in the photographsof the front and back facades is the
elimination of any reference to the actual site, which is, in
(s~) fact, a steep terrain. By eliminating the site, he makes ar-
chitecture into an object relativelyindependent of place.
47 ~ 8 ~-n
s"n~JuJ~~ This relationshipbetween an ideal object and an ideal site
4- ~ is a constant in Le Corbusier'sarchitectureof the twenties.
11. Twenty replicas of the Villa For example, he designed the small villa for his parentson
Savoye for the Argentinian the shores of Lake Geneva before he knew its specific loca-
countryside, proposed by Le tion.19And in Buenos Aires he proposedan urban devel-
Corbusierin a lecture in Bue-
nos Aires, October 1929, and opment consisting of twenty "replicas"of the Villa
published in Pr6cisions Savoye.20

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Colomina

9. Villa Schwob, 1916, and


detail of pergola (left).
Photographs c. 1920.

10. Villa Schwob, version as


published in L'EspritNouveau

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assemblage 4

12. Le Corbusier,sketches of
the interior of S. Mariadi Cos-
medin, with instructionsfor
modifying the original photo-
graphs before their publication
in Versune architecture

lid
~br`b
t J ~a
n.1- Q420cL>
.-Ol
An analysis of the Oeuvre complete uncovers a similar re- Greece in "ByzantineRome." The published text declares,
workingof the photographicimage. In the published pho- "Greece by way of Byzantium, a pure creation of the
tographsof the Villa Savoye, Le Corbusiermasked, by spirit. Architectureis nothing but orderedarrangement,
painting gray, anomalous columns (wet columns perhaps) noble prisms, seen in light."26
visible in other photographsof the villa. Interestingly,the
Stanislausvon Moos has written that for Le Corbusierthe
published section of the Villa Savoye correspondsto an
earlier version of the project ratherthan to the one that relationshipof the architecturalwork to a specific site and
was built.21 It becomes evident that for Le Corbusierany its material realization are secondaryquestions;that for
him architectureis a conceptual matterto be resolved in
document from the process, which better reflectsthe
the purity of the realm of ideas, that when architectureis
concept of the house, takes precedence over the faithful
built, it gets mixed with the world of phenomena and nec-
representationof the actual built work. Furthermore,the
distinction he makes between real space and the space of essarilylooses its purity.27 And yet it is significantthat
when this same built architecturalpiece enters the bi-
the page is equally clear. It is precisely because the latter is
dimensional space of the printed page it returnsto the
necessarilyreductive that certain elements - such as wet realm of ideas. The function of photographyis not to re-
columns - while innocuous in an experientialreadingof
the building, are distractivewhen seen in a photograph. flect, in a mirrorimage, architectureas it happens to be
built. Construction is a significant moment in the process,
Likewise in the Oeuvre complhte,consider Le Corbusier's but by no means its end product. Photographyand layout
elimination of two columns that frame the apse of the construct another architecturein the space of the page.
dining-room projection into the living room in the plan for Conception, execution, and reproductionare separate,
the Villa Stein at Garches.22The resultingplan conveys consecutive, moments in a traditionalprocess of creation.
the spatial, experiential reading of this house. The absence But in the elliptic course of Le Corbusier'sprocessthis
of the two columns reinforcesthe diagonal thrust of the hierarchyis lost. Conception of the building and its repro-
duction cross each other again.
villa, furtherdisintegratingthe "centralaxis"into frag-
ments.23

Outside his architecturalwork, Le Corbusierused analo-


Continuous Editing
gous techniques to reinforce his theoretical arguments. For In the division of tasksamong the editorial group of L'Es-
instance, in L'EspritNouveau and later in Vers une archi- prit Nouveau, Le Corbusiertook as his responsibilities
tecture, he published a photographof Pisa taken from his "administrationet finances."Amdede Ozenfant and Paul
own collection; but prior to its reproductionLe Corbusier Derm6e, coeditors of the magazine, were in charge of the
traced portions of the print in black ink to stressthe purity more traditionalwork of productionand editing. But Le
and clarity of lines in a platform.24 A page of sketches from Corbusieropted to mix with the world outside the intellec-
the working material of Vers une architecturerevealssimi- tual circles, to participateactively in the world of industry
larly notable instructionsfor modificationsto be applied to and finance, himself a "producer"ratherthan an "inter-
the photographsof the church of S. Maria di Cosmedin in preter"- the classical task of the intellectual - of the
Rome.25 These consist of removing tabernacles,decoration new industrialreality.28As the magazine was largely fi-
on the arches, leather pillows, columns, windows, and nanced by advertising,Le Corbusiercame in contact with
anything else that would distractthe readerfrom seeing the culture of mass media.

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Colomina

-':i:I:l'ii::
:-- :::::::------
:I: 13. Page from L'Esprit
ii I Nouveau 20, 1924
:::::':
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His avid collection of industrialcatalogues, department
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store brochures, and images clipped from newspapersand
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_:-
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:__:i
. i:i
ii:- :iiaii:aiiiii:i:~:i:_~--
:_:__:-:-:::__:_:
_:-::_ i:i
:.... :_:
i::--::-:--_-:--_------- -: _i:
i-i ii-::i
ii:
-:-i:::::ii;::
;:':::'::i-:l
-::ii-. : I!-li! I:i:_lii-
-i--i-i-i":i-i-i::~i~ii-~:~iiiiiiiii~ii
iiiii--:--i-
-~:i;;;;;?i;;u1;1-:-?-;;-?-?::?
::
'--::::: :i :: ::-::-
-:-::: from companies whose productswere ultimately advertised
:i-ili:::i::I
i : ---::
-i:-------iii:i----::i-i-i:iii:-
::---:: ---
: :-:::-::
- ------ ::ii:---:--- :i--i::iii--ii:i
_:-:-ii:--il: - :i---l:iil- : . :::::::::
:--- ---i:-ii--- -i:il
----- -
i-i:
i:ii:I-I::
::I
: ---::---- ----:-:i :i-
-::---
::::
::- :i:-i in the magazine. But Le Corbusieralso appropriatedthis
:: :::: :-: :::iii:i
:ii--:-::iii::----:_i:-ii-iii----::
i-i:-. . iiiiI:I-i-i-i-i--
:-II:(
:-i:ii:i::
i--i::i-
ii:l-i--::
: ::: -:
:~i-::-
:--i
: :-:: :::
::: :: : :: material as a source of images for his articlesand later
--i:i:i
:::::I
--- :i-iiii:ii
--::;I:' ii-:
:i:
:_: i-:iiii
ii_-i-ii:ii--:
iiii- :---i-iii-l:ii-::ii
-:i i:::-i:i
-li:iii::iii----i-
-iri-iiiiiii i-i-
ii:i :i:-:.-
:
::-::
::-:: :::::: -:-: incorporatedthem as illustrationsin his books."0
i::.:::ii::i: i :-:-::i :ii:__iiiiii:: - : ::::il-l::_-~:::
I:ii(:l
: :__::: . :i::i _i...::: - : :
- I -: :i In L'EspritNouveau photographyis not presentedas an
LIt
II: -
:
: -:

iS :-
:ii::::-
i::
:

.----
: :

:::::
i: artisticproject, ratheras a documentarymeans. In Le Cor-
busier's articles photographstaken from publicity material
I : : -
coexist with images extractedfrom art books and photo-
La graphsof his own work. But within these pages the world
: :- : :
of "massculture"intrudes into and violently unsettles the
:i:i :i -i~i i- -i:i i i i-i-i:i -

world of "high art." No matter how often Le Corbusier


,Ia 4"s bollsnmolscs
claims a higher rank for the art object than for the every-
puis 4l's mouvis. Piis
qu: cux i m
on
piflua lIc d In (J It nm s(u
s e h", m e"ct nute cL t day object, his work is continually "contaminated"by the
(,
(P (j i ei t
CO(ils ICO a
materialsof low culture.31

On the cover of the publicity brochure that Le Corbusier


preparedfor Vers une architecturehe stated:"Vient de
paraitre"- interruptedby the reproductionof the "book's
Vient de paraitre cover - "Ce livre est implacable. I1ne ressemble aucun

:- -: -: : ;:- -_: -: --::;:--i-i-;i-i~i:-~liii-iiiii::iii-l::


:::--:-::
-:::
?::
: :::::
-:..i-i
autre." Inside he explained the novelty of his book in
terms of his use of images: "This book derives its elo-
quence from the new means; its magnificent illustrations
hold next to the text a parallel discourse, and one of a
_:i--iiaSiiiii- great power."32

Photographyin Le Corbusier'sbook is rarelyemployed in


a representationalmanner. Its conception and intention are
fundamentallydifferent. Instead it is the agent of a never-
::.. ::. --:::-
::ii-iiii:i:iiii~i_;i:i-:~~i-
::-:-:iiiii:
-::::::::i:::i::1
resolved collision of images and text, its meaning derived
from the tension between the two. In this technique Le
Corbusierborrowedmuch from modern advertising:the as-
IIoC implacable re est
11noa mble sociation of ideas that can be producedthrough the juxta-
i ucun:autre
position of images and of images with writing.33 Imagesare
not used to "illustrate"the text; ratherthey constructthe
text. Again in the publicity brochurehe wrote, "This new
conception of the book . . . allows the author to avoid
14. Publicitybrochure for Vers flowerylanguage, ineffectual descriptions;the facts explod-
une architecture, 1923(?) ing under the eyes of the readerby force of the images."

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assemblage 4

In fact, Le Corbusier'sbooks were conceived through a


continuous editing of found images. The workingmaterial
of Vers une architecturereveals as much.34 It consists of a
series of sketches, grouped as vignettes, which correspond
to the images to be displayed. Some images come from Le
Corbusier'smemory ("cartepostale, ouiest la carte post-
ale?" is the footnote to one vignette);others are extracted
from machinery catalogues, from FreddricBoissonnas'sal-
bums of Greece, and so forth. Almost invariablyLe Cor-
busier transformedthese photographs.Beyond removing
them from their original context, he painted on them,
erased their details, reframedthem; these, then, are images
i
that have been workedon, chosen, composed, constructed.

~ ~ ~ Though photographymakes everythingaccessible- "dis-


..........•'
•."~ tant places, famous people, springtime"- choice rather
: : than accumulation is its essence. Framing is the issue of
f photography.The photographsof Greece by Boissonnas
... ....... . ... ......... . ...
............
that Le Corbusierpublished in Vers une architecturewere
taken primarilyfrom Maxime Collignon's Le Parthenon
and L'Acropole.35Some were reframed,and bear a resem-
blance to his own sketches in Le Voyage d'Orient. They
are "incomplete."They create a tension that pulls toward
the missing element. As StanfordAnderson, referringto
the sketches, has observed:
We hold no vantagepointfromwhichwe maypossessthe build-
ing objectively.And if we did possesssuch a vantagepoint,these
drawingstell us we wouldbe missingsomethingelse. Experience
itselfandthe knowledgewhichcomesonlythroughexperience.
... At a conceptuallevel Le Corbusieris concernedwithhow
we correlateexperienceand knowledge.. . . This insistenceon
15. Original page of sketches experienceis moreforcefulwhen madein the presenceof a work
from the draft manuscriptof [theParthenon] forwhichwe havepreviouslyinstilledmodesof
Versune architecture appropriation. . Le Corbusierdid not repeator makemore
. .
precisethe earlierresearches into the orders,. . . he produceda
set of sketcheswhichevokevividlythe sequentialexperienceof
the ascentof the Acropolis.36

Boissonnas'sphotographsexemplify the previouslyinstilled


mode of an aestheticized appropriationof the Parthenon.
The enormous plates of this book force the readerto step
back every time he turns a page, presentingeach image as
an object for contemplative immersion, as a "workof art."
Le Corbusierbreaksaway from his source when he
wrenches these images from the sanctuaryof high art,

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Colomina

16. Double-page spread from


Versune architecture, 1923,
with reproductions of photo-
graphs by FredericBoissonnas
taken from Le Parthenon

intfin
if

li:: t n

v!Akm
pof IMin11
im~sW?Mw AMsvnt
pn y i
tOit.-1
ATES
TWS•z
WE NE%""M
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i tt t
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o f
It b Mn i A
tn POW p tm w
nuut tnldu t tinow ifuc cI tnttpt inini i
n-qu •tin'I ms,& tw
tninnn tnnno! nt nnninfn n t'i
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"twoorl1mda 10
311
nu tic.
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47

cW, mn s.hvskikr
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urs6"m
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en10 inn . ftshow


n:

n ti
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nfu

n Ion-i
It's
EinvEitiun tinMtiteni Pomtu
iunwsIs o

17. Double-page spread from


L'Artdtcoratif d'aujourd'hui,
1925. The photograph of the
turbine was extracted from a
catalogue of the company
Brown-Boweri(c. 1924) and
reframed.

4.4 Pal ,H l; .
's~' ~S 0 aittrop i' ,porweitt avoir

aussi icsm'tili i.?! st-t'ioul., pmr n vok Ir ps.dcpQ ltongtemyps,


ANaincre~!a•.I
clwirk d tio ationtqti avait sai
asqnq 1pro xesmuph" ss./..an tsuns ' shm en 1921 6 Saloa
iN c tm dPaais Sh hde 101W h V uvi p uve
,ro '.latigilih, quv-nte somma,•{i'!•
ntact,

, it
ttttIt, ttittl qui l ' in it
u e tPa ul
ttn4 n altnd i ia i mmtfcnP
t;r• ln/ itlh. ,t!,
tnI.tnt

Ivt'i~lrw I
ttttt
ii" ,ttt- itiifin nvmmdetn in f' t nt
n}ntr6l tnntst i 0n
c',is
m bbe
Aia
we
owtnt
vs!
:Nnmehine
,{o itZ
win,
construim
• Dq
ollvinium!
syslirlrl
In nninnnnnnuit p
/~
q",,,,
it. t/t"•{*I}/}/("
it tt't' ttt , t MRN
{I to't•it'
N "
'.'
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ri

Ki,
i
anlldayai", erlal citi( i
ii
pal, /i:tc
li: : ;1
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rack" inachine
nt Im.oc
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son~rllkibletis M
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Ul

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hism Ir:,
villol.

"l • n• tnl.
Wvtrnk , onal ae (htts o
meontlewuit- toWmdkudd

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assemblage 4

reduces their size, and places them next to the everyday


SESPRTt NOUV E A
images of newspapersand industrialcatalogues(which
themselves have undergone equivalent transformations).
Mass media makes everythingcontiguous and equivalent.
Le Corbusierdoes not pretend to maintain a hierarchial
division of the material by genre or type. Instead, he pres-
ents the collision of fragmentscorrespondingto the experi-
ence of culture in the society of media. Thus his work
becomes a critical comment on the conditions of culture
in our time.

Si............... A Window with a View


There is a drawingby Le Corbusier(with the heading
"Roneo")in the archives of L'EspritNouveau that illus-
tratesthe bitter and long-lasting controversybetween
Auguste Perretand Le Corbusierover the fenetreen
longueur.37Perretmaintained that the verticalwindow, the
~ ~
I•l-t••|•I•i •,
~
Do.l
:
- ~••••ot••• D '••• e••fe~••~ ..•h-
porte reproducesan "impressionof complete space"
I•.
.].
fen.tre,
because it permits a view of the street, the garden, and the
I:. i~r•
•NIO• an l•, • h~l~li.n (,• 6•'l.•<'m : h •?h:• I'=,r-•e h•,•:'•-e •l•' ,"
sky, giving a sense of perspectivaldepth. The en
longueur, by contrast, diminishes perceptionand fen.tre
a correct
(n'
l
orte enose
o.e appreciationof the landscape. In-fact, Perretargued, it
cuts out of view precisely that which is most interesting:
k?t eno eu
the strip of the sky and the foregroundthat sustainsthe
illusion of perspectivaldepth. The landscape remains, but
(as Bruno Reichlin has put it) as though it were a planar
projection sticking to the window.
Voii la notuelle pore cno'r?e
per R In this dispute Perretexpresses,with an exceptional clarity,
D"'E PA.f$ V?, the authorityof the traditionalnotion of representation
within a realistic epistemology, representationdefined as
18. Roneo advertisement in the reproductionof an objective reality(is this what he
L'EspritNouveau 27, 1924, means by "complete space"?).Le Corbusier'swork under-
comparing traditional wood mines this concept of representation;the fenetreen Ion-
door (left) with Roneo metal
door (right) gueur is paradigmaticof its achievement in architecture.
Classical paintings attempt to identify images with their
models. Built up with shapes and images of recognizable
objects - bottles, glasses, books, pipes - Puristpaintings,
19. Le Corbusier,"Roneo" as Ozenfant and Jeanneretclaim, eschew this identifica-
drawing, illustratingthe po- tion. In La Peinture modernethey define th9 objects that
lemic between Le Corbusier
and Auguste Perret over the they chose to representin their paintingsas those of "the
fenetre en longueur most perfect banality,"which have "the advantageof a per-

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Colomina

-ii-

I :~ KU'iktN1
c~t 4
17 Ct

:
:~~ jr:

~~:~~~:::
: :i: ::: ' - : : : : :! I: : :?
,:I-:
: .. : :
....

if w
tj: ::::s: : :-: :_:~:i:~: :i 1:: : : : $
I
4..?
t (
I. .

II I
U; i'll::i~

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assemblage 4

20. Le Corbusierand Pierre 21. Le Corbusier,sketch of the


Jeanneret, Maison Cook, 1926 confrontation between the
porte fenetre and the fenetre
en longueur

fect readabilityand of being recognized without effort."'38 line of life itself." In the fenetreen longueur,which
Objects on the canvas are thereforelike words in a sen- opens by sliding, a diminutive figure occupies a position
tence: they refer to recognizable things, but the objects in peripheralto the window. In 1925 Le Corbusierwrote
the world that are representedare less importantthan the in the Almanach, "fenetre,e1ement type - A16ment
conjunction of differentialunits within the painting itself, mecanique type: nous avons serrede pris le module
each element being qualified by its place in the ensemble, anthropocentrique."41
or in Saussure'swords, by "differenceswithout positive
terms."39 Any concept of the window implies a notion of the rela-
tionship between inside and outside. In Le Corbusier's
Viewing a landscape through a window implies a separa- work this relationshiphas to do with the contrastbetween
tion. A window breaksthe connection between being in a the infinity of space and the experience of the body, a
landscape and seeing it. Landscapebecomes purely visual, body that has become a surrogatemachine in an industrial
and consequently available to experience only through age. As he writes in L'Art decoratifd'aujourd'hui:"Decora-
memory. Le Corbusier'sfenetre en longueurworksto put tive art is the mechanical system that surroundsus ...
this condition, this caesura, in evidence. an extension of our limbs; its elements, in fact, artificial
limbs. Decorative art becomes orthopaedic,an activitythat
Something about this "Roneo"drawingis paradoxical:Le
Corbusier intends by his drawingto illustratethe superior- appeals to the imagination, to invention, to skill, but a
craft analogous to the tailor:the client is a man, familiar
ity of the fenetre en longueur;in actuality, the intensity to us all and precisely defined."'42And in a footnote to the
and detail with which he drawsPerret'sportefenetre, in
contrastto the sketchinessof his renderingof the fenetre book, Le Corbusierwrote that when the typewritercame
en longueur, makes the former much more emotionally into use, anthropocentrismbecame standardization:"This
standardizationhad considerablerepercussionsupon furni-
charged.40 This may be seen, above all, in the way in
ture as a result of the establishmentof a module, that of
which Le Corbusierdrawsthe human figure in each. In
the commercialformat. . . . An internationalconvention
the porte fenetre, a man stands at the center of the win-
was established [for paper sheets, magazines, books, news-
dow, holding it open with wide-stretchedarms - recalling
Perret'sassertion (in an imaginarydialogue published by papers, canvases, photographicprints].43
Le Corbusier in the Almanach d'architecturemoderne)that Perret'swindow corresponds,as Reichlin has shown, to the
"a window is man himself. ... The portefenetreprovides traditionalspace of perspectivalrepresentationin Western
man with a frame, it accords with his outlines. . . . The art. Le Corbusier'swindow corresponds,I would argue, to
vertical is the line of the upright human being, it is the the space of photography.It is not by chance that Le Cor-

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Colomina

22. Le Corbusier,small villa for 23. Maison Cook, view show-


his parents, Corseaux,view ing the fenetre en longueur of
through interior overlooking the opposite wall reflected in
LakeGeneva the mirrorof the buffet

busier continues the polemic with Perretin an argument rectangle, opens by pivoting;the two squarepanels are
in Precisions,demonstrating"scientifically"that the fenetre fixed. How importantthese divisions are for Le Corbusier
en longueur illuminates better, by relying on a photogra- is evident in his sketches of the house: the view outside
pher's chart that gives times of exposure. Though photog- each panel seems relativelyindependent of the adjacent
raphy(as with film) is based on single-point perspective, view. The grouping of curtains in the side post, also
between photographyand perspectivethere is an epistemo- stressedin Le Corbusier'ssketches, reinforcesthe quadri-
logical break. The point of view in photographyis that of division of this window.
the camera, a mechanical eye. The painterlyconvention The panorama"sticking"to the window glass is super-
of perspectivecenters everythingon the eye of the beholder
imposed on a rhythmic grid that suggestsa series of photo-
and calls this appearance"reality."The camera - and
graphsplaced next to each other in a row, or perhapsa
more particularlythe movie camera - posits that there is series of stills from a movie. What is more, in the "Roneo"
no center.
drawingthe fenetre en longueur does slide open; and, when
Using Walter Benjamin's distinction between the painter opened, one glass panel is overlaid on another. This win-
and the cameraman, we could conclude that Le Corbu- dow is divided into three square panels; the central one is
sier's architectureis the result of his positioning himself fixed. The individual does not occupy the center of the
behind the camera.44By this I refer not only to the afore- window when opening it, but must stand to the side. More
mentioned implications, Le Corbusieras "producer"rather than at Corseaux, he is displaced.
than "interpreter"of industrialreality, but also to a more We imagine a boat going down the lake. Viewed from a
literal reading that sees in the deliberatedispersalof the portefenetre there would be an ideal moment: the boat
eye in Le Corbusier'svillas of the twenties - effected appearsat the center of the opening directly in line with
through the architecturalpromenade together with the col- the gaze into the landscape- as in a classical painting.
lapsing of space outside the fenetreen longueur- the ar- The boat would then move out of vision. From the fenetre
chitectural correlativeof the space of the movie camera. en longueur the boat is continuously shot, and each shot is
The fenetre en longueur that stretchesalong the fagadeof independently framed.
the villa for Le Corbusier'sparentsin Corseaux on Lake With Le Corbusier'sfenetreen longueurwe are returnedto
Geneva (1923) - a house that became central to the Dziga Vertov, to an unfixed, never reified image, to a se-
Perret-Le Corbusiercontroversy- does not open by slid- quence without direction, moving backwardand forward
ing. The window is divided into four elements, each of according to the mechanism or the movement of the
which is divided into three panels. The central panel, a figure.

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assemblage 4

Notes Praeger, 1960); English trans. of 'Architector Revolutionary'?A Oeuvre complete 1929-1934 (Zu-
A condensed version of this text is L'Atelierde la recherchepatiente Reappraisalof Le Corbusier'sFirst rich: Editions Girsberger,1935),
published in German and French (Paris:Vincent & Freal, 1960). Book on Architecture,"AAQ 3, no. pp. 24-31.
in L'Esprit Nouveau, Le Corbusier 7. Ibid., p. 37. 2 (1971): 10-20.
22. Paul Spangler, in an unpub-
und die Industrie 1920-1925, ed. 15. The correspondencebetween lished paper on the four composi-
8. Gresleri, Viaggio in Oriente,
Stanislaus von Moos (Berlin: Ernst Le Corbusierand Charles L'Eplat- tions, speculateson the meaning of
& Sohn, 1987). It is also a chapter p. 141. tenier is in the Fondation Le Cor- Le Corbusier'somission of columns
in a book in preparationL'Esprit 9. Le Corbusier, The Decorative busier. All quotationshere are taken in the Villa Stein at Garches. See
Nouveau: Le Corbusierand the Me- Art of Today, trans. James Dunnett from the lettersof 26 February,29 Le Corbusierand PierreJeanneret,
dia. Financial supportfor this study (Cambridge:MIT Press, 1987), pp. February,and 2 March 1908. For Oeuvrecomplete 1910-1929 (Zu-
came from a grant from the Fonda- 9-11; English trans. of L'Art decor- an extensive commentaryon Le rich: Editions Girsberger,1930),
tion Le Corbusier. I would like to atif d'aujourd'hui(Paris:Editions Corbusier'searly correspondence, pp. 142, 144.
thank Kenneth Frampton, Michael Cr6s, 1925). For the corresponding see Mary PatriciaMay Sekler, The
23. Colin Rowe has written, "At
Hays, Alicia Kennedy, and, espe- sketches, see Fondation Le Corbu- Early Drawings of Charles-Edouard
sier A3 (6). Garches central focus is consistently
cially, Sandro Marpillerofor their Jeanneret, 1902-08 (New York:
careful reading and suggestions. broken up, concentration at any
10. Roland Barthes, "The Rhetoric Garland, 1977).
one point is disintegrated,and the
1. Marie-Odile Briot, "L'Esprit of the Image," in Image-Music- 16. Adolf Loos, "Architektur,"in dismemberedfragmentsof the cen-
Nouveau; son regardsur les sci- Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New Sdmtliche Schriften, vol. 1 (Vienna ter become a peripheraldispersion
ences," in Legeret l'esprit moderne, York:Hill and Wang, 1977), pp. and Munich: Verlag Herold, 1962), of incident, a serial installation of
exhibition catalogue (Paris:Mus&e 38-39; original text, "Rhetoriquede pp. 302-18; trans. Wilfried Wang interestaround the extremitiesof
d'Art moderne de la ville de Paris, I'image,"Communications 1 (1961). in The Architectureof Adolf Loos, the plan" (The Mathematics of the
1982), p. 38. exhibition catalogue (London:Arts Ideal Villa and Other Essays
11. Roland Barthes, "The Photo- Council of Great Britain, 1985), p.
2. I have borrowedthe concept of a graphic Message,"in Image-Music- [Cambridge:MIT Press, 1977], pp.
106. It should be noted that earlier 1-28). The blind spot of this bril-
"shadowline," linea d'ombra, from Text, p. 19; original text, "Le mes-
Franco Rella's literaryanalogy to English translationsof this famous liant analysis- one that reflectsa
sage photographique,"Communica- text omitted this and other relevant
Joseph Conrad'snovella The Sha- tions 1 (1961). classical conception of representa-
dow Line, proposed in "Immagini passages. For a furtherdiscussion, tion and photography- is that
12. I am permitting myself to use see Beatriz Colomina, "On Adolf Rowe dutifully restoredthe columns
e figure del pensiero," Rassegna
the fashionable word "deconstruc- Loos and Josef Hoffmann:Architec- to their place on the plan of the
9 (1982): 78.
tion" with referenceto Le Corbu- ture in the Age of Mechanical Re- Villa Stein vis-A-visthat of Palla-
3. Giuliano Gresleri, Le Corbusier: sier's production,"9H 6 (1982): 52-58.
manipulation of images not so dio's Malcontenta, as though the
Viaggio in Oriente (Venice: Marsi- much to insist on a presumed anti- 17. Max Horkheimerand Theodor way in which Garches was pre-
lio and Paris:Fondation Le Corbu-
philological vice as to call attention Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment sented in the Oeuvrecompletewas
sier, 1984). to Le Corbusier'sknowledge of the (New York:Continuum, 1972), merely a "printingerror."
4. Victor Burgin, "Modernismin thought of Nietzsche and, in partic- esp. the chapter"The Culture In- 24. Fondation Le Corbusier, Pho-
the Work of Art," in The End of ular, the Nietzschian critique to the dustry." toteque L1 (10) 1.
Art Theory,Criticism and Postmod- concept of sign, of truth, inter-
18. These "painted"photographs 25. Fondation Le Corbusier,
ernity (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Hu- preted not as the representationof
manities Press, 1986), p. 19. The an absolute content but as a stratifi- are in the Fondation Le Corbusier, B2-15.
article first appearedin 20th Cen- cation of signs. See, for example, Phototeque L2 (1). 26. Le Corbusier,Towardsa New
tury Studies 15-16 (December Frederich Nietzsche, "Unzeitge- 19. Stanislausvon Moos, Le Cor- Architecture,trans. FrederickEtch-
1976). masse Betrachtungen,Zweites busier:Elements of a Synthesis ells (London:The Architectural
Stuck:Vom Nutzen und Nachteil (Cambridge:MIT Press, 1979), Press, 1927), pp. 150-51; English
5. Stanislaus von Moos, "Le Cor-
der Historie fur das Leben"(On the p. 299. trans. of Vers une architecture
busier As Painter,"Oppositions 19-
usefulness and disadvantagesof his- (Paris:Editions Cr6s, 1923).
20 (Winter-Spring 1980): 89. One 20. Le Corbusier,Precisionssur un
of its manifestationswas a mural tory for life), somewhat mistran- 'tat pr sent de I'architectureet de 27. Von Moos, Elements of a Syn-
slated into English as "On the Use
completed in 1938 in the house and Abuse of History."
I'urbanisme(Paris:Editions Cr6s, thesis, p. 299.
that Eileen Gray had built for Jean 1930), p. 139. 28. ManfredoTafuri rightly notes
Badovici in Cap Martin. 13. Le Corbusier,Creation is a Pa- 21. MargaretSobieskipointed out that "Le Corbusierdid not accept
6. Le Corbusier, Creation is a Pa- tient Search, p. 37. to me the "missing"columns of the the industrial'new nature' as an ex-
tient Search (New York:Frederick 14. Peter Allison, "Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye. See Le Corbusier, ternal factor and claimed to enter it

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Colomina

as 'producer'and not as 'interpreter"' as one of relentless refusal";and 39. Ferdinandde Saussure, Course Figure Credits
(Theoriesand History of Architecture yet, "modernismrepeatedlymakes in General Linguistics, trans. Wade 1. Photographby Edmund Engel-
[New York:Harper& Row, 1976], subversiveequations between high Baskin (New York, 1966), p. 120. man. From Berggasse19 (New
p. 32). Interpretersare, for Tafuri, and low which dislocate the appar- 40. KerryShear firstpointed out to York:Basic Books, 1976).
those who perpetuatethe figure of ently fixed terms of that hierarchy me the paradoxicalnature of the 2. From Dziga Vertov, The Man
the artist-magicianin the Benjami- into new and persuasiveconfigura- "Roneo"drawing. with the Movie Camera, 1928-29.
nian definition, those who, faced by tions, thus calling it into question
from within" ("Modernismand 41. Le Corbusier, Almanach d'ar- 3. Giuliano Gresleri, Le Corbusier:
the "new nature of artificialthings"
to be used as raw material in their Mass Culture in the Visual Arts," chitecturemoderne(Paris, 1925), Viaggio in Oriente (Venice: Mar-
in Modernismand Modernity, ed. p. 96. silio and Paris:Fondation Le Cor-
artisticwork, remain anchored to
the principle of mimesis. On the Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Serge 42. Le Corbusier, The Decorative busier, 1984).
opposite side is the artist-surgeon, Guilbaut, and David Solkin [Hali- Art of Today, p. 72. 4. Photographsfrom Le Corbusier,
again in the Benjaminian sense, fax, Nova Scotia: The Press of the 43. Ibid., p. 76n. L'Art decoratifd'aujourd'hui(Paris:
one who has understoodthat repro- Nova Scotia College of Art and De- Editions Cres, 1925). Sketches from
45. In "The Work of Art in the
duction techniques create new con- sign, 1983], p. 251). Fondation Le Corbusier. Reproduc-
Age of Mechanical Reproduction," tion forbidden.
ditions for the artist, the public, 32. Fondation Le Corbusier, B2
Benjamin studies film techniques as
and the media of production. In- (15). 5. Mary Patricia May Sekler, The
an example of an art in which the
stead of passivelyadmiring the Early Drawings of Charles-Edouard
33. A similar sensibility to advertis- reproductiontechniques confer a
"equipment,"they go behind it and new condition on the artist, the Jeanneret1902-1908 (New York:
use it. See also Walter Benjamin, ing is evident in Le Corbusier's Garland Publishing, 1977).
photographsof his early villas. Von public, and the media of produc-
"The Work of Art in the Age of tion. He writes:"Unlike the magi- 6. L. Munz and G. Kunstler,Adolf
Moos has pointed out that most of
Mechanical Reproduction,"in Illu- Loos: Pioneerof Modem Architec-
them include cars, if not his own cian . . . the surgeon renounces
minations (New York:Schocken, ture (London, 1966).
Voisin: "Indeed, it is often unclear facing the patient man-to-man; in-
1968). in these images whether it is the car stead he penetrateshis body opera- 7. Engravedwatch case from Paul
29. Among the catalogues in the or the house that supplies the con- tively. The magician and the Turner, The Education of Le Cor-
archives of L'EspritNouveau are text for an advertisementof the surgeon behave respectivelylike the busier (New York:Garland Publish-
those for automobiles by Voisin, contemporarygood life" (Elements painter and the operator.The ing, 1977). Omega advertisementin
Peugeut, Citroen, and Delage; air- of a Synthesis, p. 84). painter keeps, in his work, a natural L'EspritNouveau 2, 1921.
planes and hidravionsby Farman distance from what he is given,
34. Fondation Le Corbusier, B2 8, 10. L'EspritNouveau 6, 1921.
and Caproni;trunksand suitcases while the operatorpenetratesdeeply
(15). into the texture of the data.. 9, 12, 14, 15, 19. Fondation Le
by Innovation;office furnitureby
35. Maxime Collignon, Le Par- Corbusier. Reproductionforbidden.
Or'mo; file cabinets by Roneo; sport [The image] of the painter is total,
and hand travelingbags by Hermes. thenon and L'Acropole,photographs that of the operatoris multifrag- 11. Le Corbusier, Precisions(Paris:
They include as well a more "ex- by Fr6d6ricBoissonnas and W. A. mented, and its partsare rearranged Editions Cr6s, 1930).
travagant"selection of turbines by Mansel (Paris:LibrairieCentrale according to a new law. Therefore
d'Artet d'ArchitectureAncienne, 13. L'EspritNouveau 20, 1924.
the Swiss company Brown-Boweri; the cinematic representationof real-
high-pressurecentrifugalventilators n.d.). ity is vastly more meaningful for the 16. Le Corbusier, Vers une archi-
by Rateau;and industrialoutillage 36. StanfordAnderson, "Architec- modern man because, precisely on tecture (Paris:Editions Cras, 1923).
by Clermont Ferrandand Slingsby. tural Research Programmesin the the basis of its intense penetration 17. Le Corbusier, L'Art decoratif
The archives also hold department Work of Le Corbusier,"Design through the equipment, it offers d'aujourd'hui(Paris:Editions Cr6s,
store mail-ordercatalogues from Studies 5, no. 3 (July 1984): him that aspect, free from the
1925).
Printemps, Au Bon March6, and 151-58. equipment, that he can legitimately
ask from the work of art"(p. 233). 18. L'EspritNouveau 27, 1924.
La Samaritane.
37. See Bruno Reichlin's insightful Tafuri finds in this passagea 20. Le Corbusier, Oeuvre complhte
30. See Beatriz Colomina, "L'Es- analysis of this controversy,"The principle by which to identify the 1929-1934 (Zurich: Editions Girs-
prit Nouveau: Architectureand Pros and Cons of the Horizontal distinctive featuresof the twentieth- berger, 1935).
Publicity,"Productionand Repro- Window," Daidalos 13 (1984): century avant-gardes.It is interest-
duction, Revisions 2 (1987). 64-78. 21, 23. From L'Architecturevi-
ing to note that he includes Marcel vante.
31. Thomas Crow has written that 38. Am6d6e Ozenfant and Charles- Duchamp among those who perpet-
both Clement Greenbergand EdouardJeanneret, La Peinture uate the figure of the artist-magician 22. Le Corbusier, Une petite mai-
Adorno "positthe relationshipbe- moderne(Paris:Editions Cres, (Theoriesand History of Architecture, son, 1923 (Zurich: Aux Editions
tween modernism and mass culture 1925), p. 168. p. 32). See also note 28. d'Architecture, 1954).

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