Le Corbusier - What Moves us...?


Le Corbusier - What moves us…?

Conference at the Aarhus School of Architecture, DK, 19 – 20 November 2015


Extension of deadline for abstract submission!

This year we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Le Corbusier´s death and the birth of the Aarhus School of Architecture. Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, and the Aarhus School of Architecture will celebrate this with an exhibition and an international conference, investigating Le Corbusier´s and Asger Jorn’s oeuvre by exploring the capacity of art and architecture as a means of initiation.

The influence of Le Corbusier – the deus ex machina of 20th century architecture – on modern architecture worldwide is undeniable. But what do the Danish experimental artist and the notorious Swiss French architect have in common that would make such an investigation relevant? As a young art student in Paris, Jorn cooperated with Le Corbusier for the 1937 world exhibition. This short but crucial encounter led him to writing a large number of texts, to practical cooperations with architects and even affected his paintings in the years to follow, which be subject to investigation here.

“1965“ is the title of the first, lecture-based section, which provides a general introduction to Le Corbusier´s life and oeuvre. It will furthermore explain the intent of the conference and subsequently identify the focus areas of the following sessions. The purpose of this conference is to instigate a discussion and to draw up perspectives for further research on the specific subject matters listed below. This call invites students and scholars of architecture and art history to contribute to the following three sections:

Section A:    Turnabout:    Le Corbusier, Architect Artist in Postwar Europe
Section B:    Crossroads:    Le Corbusier and Asger Jorn
Section C:    Transgressions:    Le Corbusier in Danish Architecture and Urbanism

Keynote speakers:

Stanislaus von Moos, Universtität Zürich, CH
Joan Ockman, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, US
Anna Rosellini, University of Bologna, IT

Sneak preview of conference activities
Keynotes, paper presentations and panel discussions
Visit to Asger Jorn’s Mural at Statsgymnasium Aarhus
Trip to the exhibition “Le Corbusier – What moves us…?”, followed by dinner at Museum Jorn, Silkeborg
Screening of Heinz Emigholz’ movie on Asger Jorn´s Aarhus Mural and Le Corbusier´s Villa Savoye, especially commissioned for the exhibition.

Deadline for abstract submission:  08 September, 2015
Notice of acceptance:  15 September, 2015
Deadline for 1st Draft of papers:  23 October, 2015
Deadline for papers:  20 November 2015
Registration for the conference:  from 15 September – 2 November, 2015

Submission Requirements
Abstracts: 500 words
Papers: 3000 words
Conference presentation:  20 min.
Contribution to panel discussion: tbd

If accepted, you will be asked to submit 3000 word final version of the paper.

Panel Sections
Section I:  “Turnabout: Le Corbusier: Artist – Architect in Postwar Europe”
This section focuses on Le Corbusier´s double role as an artist and architect especially in the postwar period. Le Corbusier is commonly known for his avant-garde steel frame furniture, his plea for the “house as a machine for living” and his outlandish urban designs. In his widely read book “Vers une architecture”, (1923), he propagated an architecture that is based on function and reason and must be built on the principles of industrialization and standardization. Right after WWII he published the treatise: “L´espace indicible”, which indicates a radical change in direction. It is not machines and ocean liners anymore, but the observer, as the new “venustus”, that he chooses as the role model for a new architecture. How is this change of direction to be understood within the
socio-political context of the post war era? What incidents and mechanisms caused this radical shift?

Section II:  “Crossroads: Le Corbusier & Asger Jorn”
The aim of this section is to shed light on the encounter of the two personalities and subsequently elaborate on how this influenced and inspired Asger Jorn as an artist and writer. After his encounter with the master architect, Jorn was not only fascinated by architecture as the most public form of art, but he closely followed up Le Corbusier’s buildings and theories in the subsequent years. This eventually led to a large number of his writings as well as to some practical experiments on the relationship between art, architecture and urbanism. Jorn’s position in the postwar discourse of a synthesis of the arts and his ideas on artistic collaborations and democratisation of culture in relation to Le Corbusier deserve special consideration.

Section III:  “Transgressions: Le Corbusier in Danish Architecture and Urbanism”
This deals with Le Corbusier’s relationship to Denmark and the position of Danish architects towards him. Undoubtedly, his theories have been widely read and his designs have served as role models for a large number of Danish architects and urbanists. At the same time, he was severely criticised by Poul Henningsen a.o. because of the emphasis on form rather than function in his architecture. Based on the specific case of Le Corbusier, this section shall investigate the proliferation of Modernism and the re-contextualisation of his positions in a different field than that of its origin. Furthermore, it will develop the framework for the paper presentations and exemplify how traditional Danish idioms in architecture and urbanism were adapted or even abandoned in favour of new ones.

Format of the Conference
We intend to select papers in such a way that an argument can be constructed within the proposed subject matters even before the conference; and choosing not only a moderator but also an opponent should facilitate a vivid discussion.

Review Committee Members:
A scientific committee chaired by Prof Ruth Baumeister, Aarhus School of Architecture, will review the proposals.

Your abstract must give an overview of a proposed 20 minute paper presentation. Abstracts will undergo a review process. Submissions should be saved in Word or PDF format and be submitted by 1 August 2015 via the conference email address: Lecorbu@aarch.dk
Any queries about the format of submissions etc. can be addressed to Ruth Baumeister and Hanne Foged Gjelstrup via the conference email address.