This weekend I went to an exhibition at the Barbican for the first time. If I could summarise it in one sentence I'd say that I feel robbed of an hour of my time. Now, I'm all for a bit of enlightenment and cultural insight (see previous Jarvis post). But not in this case: it was an hour of my life which I'll never have back .
The exhibition in question was the Le Corbusier exhibition. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't blame the Barbican for the set-up or anything. My issue was with Le Corbusier himself. Now for those of you who don't know, this man (and prepare yourself for quite a lengthy speaking-ill-of-the-dead session) is claimed to be the father of modernist architecture. Now, I'm sure he is. What no one mentioned to me before I had paid my £8 entrance fee was that this accolade doesn't mean that anything he designed was actually any good. Let's set the scene here: we're talking about a man who was actually called Jean-Paul-Sartre-de-Genet-de-French-OhLaLa but preferred to be known as 'Le Corbusier' - how pretentious. He also thought that Paris should basically be demolished and then rebuilt with rows and rows of tower blocks in grids. In my view, he also designed the most horrific modernist villas (for the rich) and the most nasty tower blocks for the poor. His 'iconic' recliner screams bachelor pad and has none of the sublety and elegance of, for example, something by Eames or Jacobsen. He appeared to collect stones. Not fossils, stones. I tell you. No. Redeeming. Features.
I'm pleased to report that George was equally unmoved, save for the stone collection (he is obssessed with stones at the moment). I think this sums it up really.