Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World
On 2 October 2019 the Fondation opens a large-scale exhibition dedicated to Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), a free woman, pioneer of modernity, a leading figure of the XX century design, who contributed to the definition of a new art de vivre.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of the passing of Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999), the Fondation pays tribute to her as an architect and visionary creator through an exhibition of her work exploring the links between art, architecture and design.
The exhibition retraces the architectural work of Charlotte Perriand, whose creations presage current conversations about the roles of women and nature in our society. Visitors will have a unique opportunity to engage directly with a world of modernity thanks to meticulously researched, faithful reconstitutions that include works of art chosen by Charlotte Perriand, thus embodying her vision of a “synthesis of the arts”. Through this exhibition, the work of Charlotte Perriand invites us to rethink the role of art in our society. More than simply an object of pleasure, art is the spearhead of profound transformations in the society of tomorrow.
Charlotte Perriand, Perspective du Bar et de la salle à manger de la place Saint-Sulpice, 1927
She was an exceptional personality, a woman committed to leading a veritable evolution, or perhaps more aptly, a revolution. Her keen observation and vision of the world and its cultural and artistic expressions place her at the heart of a new order that introduced new relationships between the arts themselves – from architecture and painting to sculpture – as well as between the world’s most diverse cultures, from Asia (Japan, Vietnam and other countries) to Latin America, notably Brazil. Her work resonated with changes in the social and political order, the evolution of the role of women and changes in attitudes towards urban living. She embodied a transition from 19th century traditions towards the contemporary model of the 20th century, scarred by the cataclysms unleashed by totalitarian regimes and world wars, followed by both physical and moral reconstruction.
Finally, Charlotte Perriand proved especially visionary and acutely prescient in her consideration for the environment and the way she was enthralled with, inspired by and sensitive to nature and humans’ impact on it. This dialogue influenced her heavily, both intellectually and artistically, especially her avant-garde vision of a “nouvel atelier” for a world of progress and a new art de vivre. Her vision was unique and embodied modernity and a forward-facing spirit that continues to shape our society…
Charlotte Perriand was born on 24 October 1903 in Paris. She studied at the École de l'Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs from 1920 to 1925. Two years later, she began working as an interior designer, based at her studio on Place Saint-Sulpice. Her research and interest in furniture design led her to collaborate with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in the 1920s and 1930s. During this time she worked on major projects including the Villa Church, the Villa Savoye, the Cité du Réfuge for the French Salvation Army, and the Pavillon Suisse at the Cité Universitaire.
A few years later, Perriand helped to found the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM), and in 1933 she embarked on a photographic research project on the theme of Art Brut, in collaboration with Fernand Léger and Pierre Jeanneret. She focused on objects found in nature, which she photographed in situ or in her studio in Montparnasse.
In 1934 she began specialising in pre-fabricated buildings for leisure pursuits, including the Maison au Bord de l'Eau, as well as hotels and mountain shelters.
In 1940 Perriand was appointed as the official advisor on industrial design to the Japanese government, and left for Tokyo, returning to France in 1946. All her work thereafter would display a Japanese influence. Major projects followed, notably for Air France (1957-1963) and the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (1963-1965). Perriand’s work has been the subject of many exhibitions, highlighting her "synthesis of the arts" and her singular vision.
She died on 27 October 1999 in Paris.
The Scientific Committee
The Scientific Committee of the exhibition gathers five curators : Jacques Barsac, Sébastien Cherruet, Gladys Fabre, Sébastien Gokalp, Pernette Perriand ; and Arthur Rüegg as a scientific advisor for restitutions.
The exhibition is supported by
Charlotte Perriand Symposium
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Fondation hosted a symposium about the french architect.
The discussion themes provided an opportunity to review Perriand's life and career from the perspective of her artistic activities as well as her social and political engagement. We talked about her stance on the individual's role in nature, the position of women in society, a new type of living environment, the way different types of artistic creation relate to each other, and the concept of a “synthesis of the arts”.