© Fondation Louis Vuitton
An engaged visionary who created pieces that have become icons and spaces that integrate all forms of art, Charlotte Perriand is a major figure in 20th century art whose work remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration today. Twenty years after her passing, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is celebrating this resolutely independent woman whose creations appear so contemporary to us today with an exceptional ensemble of artworks intimately linked to her career, along with unprecedented reproductions. The exhibition “Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World” runs until February 24, 2020.
Organizing a major exhibition dedicated to Charlotte Perriand at the Fondation Louis Vuitton is a natural choice given the continued topical resonance of her work and the way in which her creations were always – and indeed remain – powerfully contemporary. Frank Gehry, whose passion and immense talent engendered the creation of an architecture for the Fondation Louis Vuitton that was immediately lauded by the public as a major new artistic landmark for Paris, avows “feeling a kinship” with her.
“My lack of awareness of the breadth of her work is a travesty, and I am sure many share this oversight. It is for the benefit of all that the Fondation Louis Vuitton exhibits the work of Charlotte Perriand. Her work has genuinely enlightened me and will serve as an inspiration in my own future work,” the architect states.
Charlotte Perriand was born in Paris in 1903. By the 1920s her boldness and creativity was already surprising her contemporaries. After studying at the École des Arts Décoratifs, she was soon drawn to the creative avant-garde of the era, designing tubular furniture. She engaged wholeheartedly with her times, an age of new technologies symbolized by the automobile. “In the street, the beautiful cars, shining with clean lines, are giving me the eye,” she wrote.
Her celebrated reclining metal Chaise longue – which she designed in collaboration with Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier and on which she was photographed in 1929 wearing a shimmering necklace made of ball bearings – became a design icon. Imagining an “ideal apartment with the two architects – similar to a loft – Charlotte Perriand broke with the codes of her time and proposed something much more than simply architecture, a new art of living.
Invited to Japan in 1940, Charlotte Perriand discovered a new conception of space that had a profound influence on her career. In 1950, Elle magazine published an imagined government composed exclusively of women, naming Charlotte Perriand “Minister of Reconstruction.” In 1955, she organized her Proposal for a Synthesis of the Arts in Tokyo, a majestically expansive exhibition integrating painting, sculpture and design. And of course her creation of the ski resort Les Arcs established Charlotte Perriand as one of France’s major “builders” during the “Trente Glorieuses” post-war period.
The exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton brings together over four hundred works that reconstitute this “synthesis of the arts”. This remarkable demonstration reprises her dialogue with the artists of her time, including Fernand Léger and Pablo Picasso, as well as Georges Braque, Alexander Calder, Hisao Dômoto, Joan Miro, Henri Laurens, Le Corbusier and Sofu Teshigahara. Two hundred artworks are displayed, either integrated directly with Charlotte Perriand’s creations or in conjunction with her design projects, tracing the contours of a new world where tradition embraces modernity, bridging different arts and cultures.
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