Le Corbusier, I was dreaming (first version), 1953, © Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012.

Le Corbusier in Stockholm, 1962, © Fotograf okänd. Ahrenberg Collection, Switzerland.

Le Corbusier's Secret Laboratory, Multiple Practices and Disciplines

Le Corbusier, Nature morte Indépendants, 1922, © Le Corbusier/BUS 2012.

Le Corbusier, The Poem of the Right Angle, plate 6, 1955, © Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012.


Moderna Museet
Slupskjulsvägen 7
+ 46 8 519 522 00
Le Corbusier: The Secret Laboratory
January 19-April 18, 2013

Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in 1887) is often referred to as the most important architect in history. His influence on building design and urban planning worldwide can hardly be overestimated. Despite his legacy, a Le Corbusier exhibition of this magnitude is long overdue in Northern Europe. Le Corbusier: The Secret Laboratory presents a unique opportunity to discover the many dimensions of his oeuvre — including rarely shown sculptures and paintings — and provides new perspectives from which to appreciate his work.

A central theme of this exhibition is Le Corbusier’s oscillation between two seemingly disparate pursuits: his celebration of mechanical objects and his search for poetic forms. The exhibition will highlight the way in which this complex relationship developed from his youthful study trips around Europe to his late work, investigating the resonances between artistic work and architectural design. At the centre of attention for this migration of themes is Le Corbusier’s painting studio – his “secret laboratory”.

The exhibition is organised in five thematic sections dealing with the major stages of his work: his purist paintings and the villas of the 1920s; his rediscovery of vernacular values in the 1930s; his preoccupation with the synthesis of the arts after 1945; and the complex reminiscences of his late work. Moreover, special attention will be dedicated to Le Corbusier’s relationship to Sweden. His plan for the urbanisation of Stockholm (1933) and the museum he designed for the Ahrenberg collection (1962) will be juxtaposed with comparable plans and projects.

The exhibition assembles a diverse body of material, in terms of both medium and scale. The 200 works selected include paintings, landscape drawings, still-lifes, portraits, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, architectural drawings, models of buildings and of entire city plans, books, and photographs.

Le Corbusier: The Secret Laboratory is curated by Jean-Louis Cohen, professor at New York University, and a prolific author of books on Le Corbusier. Cohen conceived the centennial Le Corbusier exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, and is preparing Le Corbusier, Landscapes for the Machine Age, scheduled to open in June 2013 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The associate curator is Pascal Mory, author of several important architectural exhibitions, including Towers and Skyscrapers, from Babel to Dubai, currently on show at the CaixaForum in Madrid.

Le Corbusier: The Secret Laboratory is organised in association with the Le Corbusier Foundation, with important contributions from the AVC Charity Foundation.

Curators are Jean-Louis Cohen och Pascal Mory.


Le Corbusier, Plan de Stockholm. Nord Sud A / Ouest Est B /Est Ouest C / Trois coupes urbaines / Annotations 3071, 1933, © Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012.

Le Corbusier, Plan de Stockholm. 1ère étape / Plan de situation avec implantation des redents type B et type A avec voirie, 1933, © Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012.

Le Corbusier, I was dreaming (first version), 1953, © Le Corbusier/ BUS 2012.

Le Corbusier, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, Cover, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

Le Corbusier et Le Poeme de l'Angle Droit

Le Corbusier, A.1 Environment, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, p. 17, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

Le Corbusier, B.2 Mind, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, p. 55, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.


Pinakothek der Moderne
Architekturmuseum der TU München in der Pinakothek der Moderne
Arcisstraße 21
+49 (0)89 23805-379
Le Corbusier. Le Poeme de l'Angle Droit
June 21-September 2, 2012

In the course of seven years, from 1947 to 1953, Le Corbusier produced a succession of lithographs that can be regarded as an artistic realization of his conception of the world and at the same time as a kind of self portrait. Although the work is thus given utmost importance, it received relatively little attention for a long time, as the artist Corbusier was not met with as much interest as the famous architect. Only recent research has decoded and interpreted the cosmos of imagery and thoughts, stipulated in the architectural poem.

Le poème de l’angle droit (The poem of the right angle) consists of a long hand-written text and drawings, which are linked in a way that they explain each other and merge into a complex statement. The text is divided into seven stanzas which correspond with 19 coloured lithographs. According to Le Corbusier these lithographs should be arranged axisymmetrically in seven rows in the form of a multi-chain cross above each other, so that they result in a projection wall, which — in the style of orthodox sacred spaces — he referred to as iconostasis. Thus the profane poem is elevated to a virtually religious expression of the artist’s pantheistic world view. Each row is dedicated to a topic: from the environment via the mental and physical elements to the right angle, with which the human being establishes his own order.

In the exhibition the complete circle is shown with all its accompanying preliminary studies, paintings and documents in Germany for the first time, thus making Le Corbusier’s work and design process comprehensible. The central point is the presentation of the ›iconostasis‹ in the form as it was predetermined by him. As Le Corbusier claimed, his buildings were based on ›poetry‹ and were only achieved due to is free artistic works, the cycle also provides an access to the architectural works of the greatest architect of the 20th century.

The architectural poem was published in a limited edition of 250 copies by the Paris publisher Editions Verve in 1955. For the exhibition a facsimile edition will be issued with a new translation of the poem as well as an accompanying volume with descriptive essays.

The exhibition is a project of the Architekturmuseum der TU München and the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, in cooperation with the Fondation Le Corbusier, Paris.

Le Corbusier, B.4 Mind, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, p. 69, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.

Le Corbusier, C.5 Flesh, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, p. 109, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.


Le Corbusier, G.3 Instrument, Poem of the Right Angle, 1955, p. 151, © FLC/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2012.