Discover Germany, Issue 56, November 2017

Page 32

Discover Germany  |  Special Theme  |  Culture Highlights Switzerland – Top Museums 2017

A small selection of Le Corbusier's original lithographs and posters available at Gallery Mera. Photo: © Evelyn Kutschera

The art of Le Corbusier as a fundament “I am an architect, but I am also a painter - there are two souls dwelling in my chest,” once said Le Corbusier, master builder of the 20th century. Indeed, it was his artistic oeuvre that enabled Le Corbusier’s architectural designs and which serves as the fundament of Schaffhausen-based Gallery Mera’s concept. At the same time, owners Karin and Tomas Rabara have also specialised in original vintage posters dating to the first half of the 20th century. TEXT: SILKE HENKELE  |  PHOTOS: GALLERY MERA

Karin and Tomas Rabara became gallerists more or less by accident.“At the beginning there was Le Corbusier,”recounts the couple.“12 years ago, I was looking for a present for my wife who had worked at the Centre Le Corbusier in Zurich and who was entirely besotted with his artwork,” explains Tomas Rabara. “So, it was the most obvious choice to look for something signed by the master himself. During my research I delved deep into Le Corbusier’s life and visual worlds and was simply overwhelmed by what I saw. You may rightfully say that in the end both of us were actually infected by Le Corbusier.” In 2010, the Rabaras finally opened their gallery. Le Corbusier - an artist? Le Corbusier (1887-1965), born in Swiss La Chaux-de-Fonds, is known to the broad 32  |  Issue 56  |  November 2017

public primarily by his architectural designs. “In fact, he started his career as a visual artist who, as of 1918, belonged to the spearhead of the Parisian artistic avant-garde,” relates Karin Rabara. Vers une architecture, a collection of Le Corbusier’s essays on modern architecture, gained him prominence beyond the bounds of Paris and thus marked the beginning of him becoming the prototype of an architect. This, however, did not prevent the autodidact Le Corbusier to dedicate each of his mornings to art: paintings, drawings, lithographs, sculptures and tapestries etc. “He created all these different types of art at the same time when he was already working as an internationally successful architect,” Karin and Tomas Rabara marvel.“His creative power was infinite.”

Le Corbusier started creating his prints in 1917 and today they are integral to his complete oeuvre. It is particularly to these prints that Gallery Mera has dedicated the catalogue Building on Art: Graphic Works by Le Corbusier over Fifty Years. The catalogue, for the first time ever, focuses entirely on Le Corbusier’s original prints. It contains two essays by Tomas Rabara and goes way beyond the mere imaging of Le Corbusier’s graphic oeuvre. Further evidence of the gallerists’ passion for Le Corbusier is, an online page that lists the gallery’s complete offer of Le Corbusier’s prints. Time travels with original vintage posters It was thanks to Le Corbusier that Tomas Rabara got interested in vintage posters. “As of the 1930s, Le Corbusier also designed art posters for his own exhibitions and these got me interested in posters in general. They had emerged at the end of the 19th century and campaigned for anything - products, travels, ideas, exhibitions - you name it,” says Tomas Rabara. These large-sized lithographs enticed the observer with bright colours; they captivated