Charlotte Perriand, the artist who dared to experiment

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“Cushions are not embroidered here,” says the already famous architect Le Corbusier when Charlotte Perriand shows up in his Paris studio with his drawings. A first skeptical approach that quickly becomes trust: in the ten years that the Parisian architect and designer spent within the walls at 35 rue de Sèvres, the great master’s refuge, her talent immediately emerged. If you have in mind, for example, the kitchen module of theHousing Unit of Marseille, know that it is his.

But Charlotte was not only the “right hand” of Le Corbusier, pseudonym of Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. Over the ten years spent with him, she has been an activist, a woman of the world, a lover of the mountains, a forerunner of modern culture and a photographer. And it is in her multiple guises that the M77 Gallery of Milan celebrates it with the exhibition Charlotte Perriand. The avant-garde is woman (until 25 June).

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In the exhibition it can be seen Créer the habitat au XXe Siècle, the French documentary by Jacques Barsac – husband of Perriand’s daughter Pernette – from 1985, with the participation of the then 80-year-old Charlotte. In total 57 minutes to tell about work, successes and struggles. These last against the sexism of the time: often the artist was the shadow of his male colleagues.

Eclectic and curious, on her travels she collected what she found around, junk that she found on the beaches which she then photographed, as visual notes for furniture, objects and houses that she would draw.

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The shots are on display in the second part of the exhibition project which opens with images on the mountain, his great love: he is in Haute-Savoie in Les Arcs ski complex who left her signature as an architect, as well as a photographer.

Then, there is Cassinathe only brand authorized to produce its furnishing accessories: the Tokyo Chaise longue and the Tokyo Daybedthe Tabouret Méribelthe chair Shadow Tokyo. The recurring city of Tokyo: not by chance. Perriand in Japan he lived there for six years, and it is here that he experimented with the new industrial forms, mixing them with the local tradition.

Charlotte Perriand in Savoy, around 1930. © Archives Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand, Fish Vertebrae, 1933. © Archives Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand in the snow, 1930. © Archives Charlotte Perriand

© Archives Charlotte Perriand / ADAGP 2014

Source: Vanity Fair

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