Exhibition

Le Corbusier and Jean Genet in the Raval

07 June to 21 Oct. 2012

Brassaï

Brassaï "Sense títol. Graffiti. Sèrie VII: "La mort'", ca. 1930. Tiratge ca.1950

The superimposition of the experiences of Le Corbusier and Jean Genet in the city of Barcelona in the early 1930s invites us to consider a modernity close in space and time. Le Corbusier toured Barcelona's urban centre with the intention of evaluating and reforming it. The proposal of the Macià Plan for a 'New
Barcelona' was, therefore, based on hygienic principles aimed at eradicating the social degradation of the area. In contrast, Jean Genet, who wandered the same streets in the old town soon after Le Corbusier, found a great deal in common with the most abject aspects of the place. His novel, The Thief's Journal, published in 1949, is an account of his time in Barcelona and other European cities. Therefore, two aspects of modernity – one associated with rationalism and committed to physical and moral cleansing, the other exploring the informal and marginal – coincided in time and space in the Barcelona of the 1930s. In the current presentation of the MACBA Collection, the aesthetic implications of these two ways of life are related to urban conditions. The diorama of the
Macià Plan at the centre of this section sets the scene for these tensions. But the projected vision of a modern city and the ambitious destruction it entailed was never realised. The Spanish Civil War put a stop to any plans of urban reform.

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