As part of its guest program, the LUMA Foundation Arles, together with Paris-based Galerie Patrick Seguin, is presenting Jean Prouvé: Architect for Better Days, a major survey exhibition devoted to the innovative twentieth-century French designer of furniture and architecture.
Comprising twelve prefabricated buildings created between 1939 and 1969, this exhibition features the largest number of Prouvé’s demountable construction systems ever assembled in a single location, and aims to revisit the functional side of his architecture, a focus that is as timely and relevant as ever in light of today’s housing and migratory crisis.
Following the installation of four houses at the Parc des Ateliers in Arles in May, the full exhibition opens October 21, 2017 and ends May 1st, 2018. That the structures are installed within and in close proximity to La Grande Halle – an exhibition venue wrought from a nineteenth-century foundry— is a fitting tribute to Prouvé’s training as an artisan metalworker.
Jean Prouvé (1901-1984), regarded today as one of the most enduring and important figures of twentieth-century design, approached the construction of furniture in the same way he constructed a house. In order to describe this balance of material integrity, innovative and economical construction, and elemental design, Le Corbusier designated Prouvé a constructeur. At once an architect and an engineer, the term encompasses the singularity of Prouvé’s elegant approach as well as his vital social motivation, manufacturing “brilliant solutions” for the modern era’s most urgent needs.
Though Prouvé is today synonymous with the bent sheet-steel frames of his now-iconic furniture, his seminal contributions to modern architecture and his socially engaged praxis as constructeur –united the realms of industry, architecture, engineering and design– deserve far more attention than they have historically been afforded.
The exhibition is accompanied by a survey publication produced by the LUMA Foundation in collaboration with Phaidon Press. The book features two newly commissioned essays by architect, critic, theorist and Dean Emeritus of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Prof. Mark Wigley, and Philippe Trétiack, a Paris-based architecture critic and author, and includes a wealth of historical and archival material on the twelve constructions exhibited at LUMA Arles, and Prouvé’s oeuvre in general.
Architect for Better Days
Through 01 May 2018 luma-arles.org