Le Corbusier and Louis Soutter: ‘Complications and Attacks on the Beauty of Unity'

Fijalkowski, Krzysztof (2017) Le Corbusier and Louis Soutter: ‘Complications and Attacks on the Beauty of Unity'. Art History. ISSN Online ISSN: 1467-8365; Print ISSN: 0141-6790


The sources of Le Corbusier’s status as the most influential architect of the twentieth-century may be traced above all to his theoretical writing, as communicated in his own carefully supervised book publications. A detailed and profound response to them comes in the form of unique artist’s books made from several of these works by the architect’s own cousin Louis Soutter, an artist often categorized as an ‘art brut’ visionary. This essay examines the ways in which Soutter’s dense figurative and decorative marginal drawings on the books emphasize the ambivalent tensions and exchanges between the two men and their apparently contradictory but equally complex world views. Krzysztof Fijalkowski is Professor of Visual Culture at Norwich University of the Arts. Recent publications include: Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia (Ashgate, 2013, with Michael Richardson and Ian Walker); ‘Poétique/Politique: Picasso, Surrealism and Politics after 1944’, in Jonathan Harris and Richaerd Koeck, eds, Picasso and the Politics of Visual Representation (Liverpool University Press, 2013); and the translation and introduction of Gherasim Luca’s The Passive Vampire (Twisted Spoon Press, 2008).

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