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Exhibition Presentation and Opening: Exquisite Corb

February 10, 2016 at 6:00 pm


6pm Presentation immediately followed by opening reception in the College Gallery introduced by Anya Sirota

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.

Matthieu Gafsou (CH, 1981) lives and works in Lausanne, Switzerland. After completing a master of arts in philosophy, literature and cinema at the Université de Lausanne, he studied photography at the School of Applied Arts in Vevey. Since 2006, Gafsou has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, and published a series of photographic works, including: Ce rêve étrange : Le Corbusier à Firminy, Surfaces, and Sacré. In 2009 Gafsou was awarded the prestigious “Prix de la fondation HSBC pour la photographie” and subsequently was invited to contribute to the Aperture Foundation’s 2010 reGeneration2 exhibition. In 2014, Lausanne’s influential Musée de l’Elysée hosted Gafsou’s solo show titled Only God Can Judge Me. In addition to his artistic practice, Gafsou is on the faculty at the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL).

The exhibition is the outcome of the 2015 Exquisite Corb studio workshop organized in collaboration with Patrick Beaucé and the Ecole nationale supérieure d’art et de design de Nancy.

Special thanks to Christian Debize, Géraud Didier, Yannick Le Coquil, Colin Ponthon, Sharon Haar, Marie Combes, and MaryAnn Wilkinson.

Exhibition is on view in the College Gallery February 11 – March 11.


February 10, 2016
6:00 pm