Anish Kapoor chez Le Corbusier
Exhibition curator: Brother Marc Chauveau
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Le Corbusier (1965) and as part of the Biennale de Lyon, the theme of which is “Modern Life”, Anish Kapoor, considered to be one of the greatest contemporary sculptors, is the invited artist at the Priory of La Tourette, that archetype of modern architecture. In preparation for this exhibition, Anish Kapoor came to La Tourette to familiarise himself with the architecture and to work out which artworks to present here. On his visit he was attentive to and much affected by the way light is used and how it plays on the building; also by the texture of the rough-cast concrete walls that show the grain of the wood formwork. He was also sensitive to the imperfections in the finish of the concrete at the priory, feeling that they make this apparently rigorous architecture more human. Once again this encounter has given rise to a fertile and moving dialogue between the artistic heritage and contemporary creation. The works displayed interact with the architecture in many different ways – either through an interplay of reflections in mirrors, or in a dialogue of materials and textures between concrete walls and pieces made of wax; or in a resonance between shafts of light and circular sculptures. Anish Kapoor’s works give rise to a mise en abyme, a feeling of being caught up and borne off into a relationship with the infinite. They are not by their nature mystical and yet, in this place, they take on a spiritual dimension.
As has been the case for previous exhibitions at La Tourette, a special catalogue presenting all the works on site has been published in order to preserve the memory of this exceptional encounter. The digital version of the present catalogue gives an account of this experience.
For seven years now, the Dominican Friars at the Priory of La Tourette, which was built near Lyon by Le Corbusier in the 1950s, have held contemporary art exhibitions in the venue, which the friars like to think of as open to the world of today. The Dominicans’ bold choice of architect, more than half a century ago, is reflected today in the way they organise exhibitions that are each designed as an encounter between the works of an artist and Le Corbusier’s work of architecture. The aim of these exhibitions is to create a fecund dialogue between the architectural heritage and contemporary creative art.
The artists that have already been invited are François Morellet (2009); Vera Molnar, Ian Tyson and Stéphane Couturier (2010); Alan Charlton (2011); Éric Michel (2012); Anne and Patrick Poirier (2013) and Philippe Favier (2014). What has been undertaken at La Tourette is unique on the French art scene. The vocation of the venue produces something which, in a certain way, exists nowhere else: the unique and singular combination of Corbusian architecture, the religious life, quotidian life, and contemporary art.
The exhibitions we have held in recent years have shown how naturally artworks find their place in the priory; the dialogue that they set up with the architecture has proved a happy one. The result has always been a new way of seeing – both the building and the works of art. This connection between a living spiritual place, the architectural quality of the convent and the artistic quality of the selected works, has made each encounter a unique experience. The works cease to be merely exhibits; they inhabit the priory. They assume a presence in a place which is itself inhabited.