The small cabin where Le Corbusier resided during the final years of his life serves as a consummate testament to his lifelong pursuit of “ascetic and clean, disciplined and frugal” in architecture and design. This cabin, with a footprint measuring 3.66 x 3.66 meters, provides an exemplary manifestation of Le Corbusier’s “machine for living” concept, which for its occupants represents a compact and practical space that efficiently accommodates all conceivable aspects of human habitation, while simultaneously engaging in a dynamic dialogue with the natural world.
The intent of recreating the cabin, originally designated for residential use, in an exhibition space is not to oversimplify Le Corbusier’s vision by reducing it to a mere aesthetic or architectural style, nor is it solely to effect a contextual replacement. Rather, the objective is to reinvigorate, recreate, and perpetuate the modernist aesthetic ideas that are encapsulated in the cabin in the context of contemporary societal and display environments. For instance, by substituting the original logs with synthetic wood panels and altering a window that should have faced the sea with a visual aperture that enables a peek or vantage point towards another exhibit, it is anticipated that this range of imaginative interpretations and reinventions will engender a spark that will incite contemporary art and modernist architecture.
In this exhibition project, the aim is to explore the expressive potential of this space as a contemporary art exhibition platform. Similar to the manner in which Le Corbusier, despite his staunch belief in geometry and utilitarianism, retained windows that permitted people to gaze upwards towards the stars, we endeavor here to connect the infinite possibilities of contemporary art with the extreme utilitarian and functional private space. By inviting artists to create and exhibit works within the rebuilt space of Le Corbusier’s cabin, the intent is to fashion a new space in which artists and spectators can participate in an imaginative realm beyond the symbolic implications of art itself, pertaining to the intricacy of modernism, nature, and the transcendence of artistic symbolism.
First Seaside Bathing Beach
by HU Fang
The Qingdao Huiquan Dynasty Hotel balcony faces the First Seaside Bathing Beach. In the afternoon, the person walking on the beach gradually becomes a tiny dot, “the sound of the waves is more weak and powerless… the sun is still there, the flame is still there, and the beach that extends all the way to the front is still there.”I tried to piece together the history of Qingdao’s seaside bathing beach, not through the sinking of historical records or the collection of anecdotes, but through my own knowledge and amateur perspective. For example, the nearby seaside villas still tell the history of Qingdao’s colonialism, and the seaside hotels witness how the seaside bathing beach has become a leisure destination for the people.
Why did Wang Yin, who returned to this familiar place, choose to “catch a glimpse” of the seaside bathing beach from the balcony of the Qingdao Huiquan Dynasty Hotel? If the painting captures a kind of “unknown moment” with its stable sense of existing and sets aside the history behind the scenery, then the condensed painting experience revealed by the picture’s traces seems always to reveal the texture of history “infiltrating” into daily life.
Today, who is still sketching? The problem remains: how can such a complex “life” be “sketched” today? Sketching is like an anachronistic behavior, seemingly still retaining a bit of the role of retrospection for a “homecoming” person. It is an anachronistic behavior that is just like a projection of humans’ own will onto nature, awkwardly and candidly revealed in the afternoon sun, soothing human’s enduring anxiety.
Sketching – who is still willing to throw oneself into the flow of life that is encountered and collided with unintentionally? Balconies, street corners, windowsills, and a glimpse of the world must be transformed into profound empathy and insight. Any perspective should allow the encounter to have a space for abstraction, let preconceptions settle, be melancholy and quiet, and let the daily structure of “life” emerge. In this sense, the traces of sketching continue to question the constancy of life activities, just like “memories of being present,” like a look back at a place where people have disappeared.
Shitao sketched in the mountains and discovered the relationship between the tree in front of him and his own life-“this is my previous life.” Cezanne faced the Sainte-Victoire Mountain for sketching, and the changing scenery solidified into a perceived universal structure – “The scenery was reflected on and had humanity, becoming the consciousness in my heart. I objectified, projected, and solidified it onto my canvas.”
The seaside bathing beach, the lazy body under the sunshine, breeds the taste of many kinds of air and ordinary encounters; it is also a place of escape and a place to look into the distance. The painter’s hand moves in the air, capturing the meaning of this place and the intersection of all memories (not only limited to human or local memory). In this glimpse, the world seems to present its structure temporarily.
This glimpse eases us and once again reminds us that humans have built so many “radiant cities,” and each “radiant city” cannot be without a seaside bathing beach.
So let the person who swims towards the distance stay in the time of the waves.