Exquisite Corb, Taubman College of Architecture, Ann Arbor, USA / by Matthieu Gafsou

Le jardin de Saint-Dié, 100x125 cm, pigment print on aluminium

Le jardin de Saint-Dié, 100x125 cm, pigment print on aluminium

This exhibition explores an undocumented private house, the Menuserie Sylva, in the French town of St. Dié des Vosges. This vernacular house cum architectural test site is so outwardly banal that it remained virtually invisible for more than half a century. The interior details, however, express the avant-garde edge of the modernist canon and are attributable in varying degrees to Le Corbusier and/or Jean-Jacques Prouvé. Commissioned by industrialist Jean-Jacques Duval at a moment when he was working closely with Le Corbusier on other projects, the house is a site of historical approximation, one that allows for the reconstruction of a nuanced and complex affiliation between an affluent client and a prominent architect, as well as raising questions about the dichotomy between authorship and appropriation, authenticated remnants, and constructed fictions. 

Exquisite Corb takes stock of the details, opening up this enigmatic house for collective consideration through a series of revealing photographs by Swiss photographer Matthieu Gafsou and studied drawings, the first and only documents revealing the aesthetic and organizational logics of the site. The representations in their appreciation of juxtaposition, irregularity, chance and idiosyncrasy make a case for architecture’s material, discursive, and narrative capacities to produce something larger, perhaps even transcendental, as a projected experience. Organized by Anya Sirota and Akoaki.

Taubman College of Architecture, 
Ann Arbor, USA
11.02-29.02 2016