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New World of Space: Le Corbusier and the role of photography in the mediation between the audience and architecture

FIGUEIREDO, Fernando Stankuns de Paula. New World of Space: Le Corbusier and the role of photography in the mediation between the audience and architecture. Dissertation (Master degree) defended in 2012 - Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Universidade de São Paulo. Graduate in Aesthetics and Art History. Concentration Area: Theory and Art Criticism. Tutor: Professor Dr. Helouise Costa.

The main focus of this dissertation is the study of the relation between architecture and photography, based on the premise that the photographic register is never neutral and always presents a particular version of what was registered. This research is specifically about the exhibition New World of Space held by The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston (ICA) in 1948 which was also presented by the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP) in 1950, including many photographs. We intend to contribute to the study of the photograph’s role in the mediation between public and architecture in the modern museums, considered the place for diffusion and ideas statements on the architecture and modern culture fields. FrancSuisse architect Le Corbusier, whose work is presented in the exhibition in study is considered one of the most outstanding protagonist of Modern Movement. Considered to be the exponent of architectural modernism, Le Corbusier also had a great knowledge about photography. MASP’s historical archives and the collection of Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi Institute were the main source of information for this research and specifically for the exhibition itself, which detailed description and analysis can be found here. The present study was guided by the following questions: what is the value of photography on architectural exhibitions? Does photography intends to show the truth as a document or is it a (re)interpretation of what is presented to us by the architects in their projects? Are the photographs presented for their artistic or informative value? And what is the relation between photography and the other elements of the exhibition, such as sketches and models? Based on our studies our conclusion is that the expographic project in MASP is more modern and aldacious, in accordance with Le Corbusier’s work proposal.

Keywords: architectural photography; modern museum; modern architecture; Le Corbusier; MASP.

download of volume 1 of the dissertation
libraries with copies for consultation at University of Sao Paulo (Brazil)