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Charlotte Perriand: The Avant-Garde is Female at M77

June 27–September 25, 2022

Vernissage: June 27, 7–9pm

M77 is proud to present Charlotte Perriand. The Avant-Garde is Female, an exhibition curated by Enrica Viganò and realized in collaboration with the Charlotte Perriand Archives, Admira and Cassina, due to open to the public on Monday June 27 at 7pm.

By putting Charlotte Perriand’s photographic output from the 1930s in conversation with a number of the iconic furniture pieces created exclusively by Cassina, the exhibition project aims to shed light on the rich and versatile production of the well-known French designer and photographer, collaborator, and friend of Le Courbusier and other notable figures of her time.

A lady whose path traveled through the entire 20th century with tremendous vigor and curiosity, completely experiencing the emergence of industrial culture and, consequently, of modernity, Charlotte Perriand was a complicated and diverse figure. She was a product of the avant-garde of her day and stood out for her acute intellect, nonconformism, and creative thought.
Modernism’s founder, she experimented with a wide variety of languages (architecture, design, urban planning, photography, politics, and civil rights), breaking rules and expanding her perspective on new ways to think about life, form, and space.She was a relentless traveler who spent a lot of time in the Far East working. She used her experience there as a chance to develop her own creativity, acquire new ways to imagine and build, and – slightly earlier than her time – pave the road for diversity.

In order to provide a thorough acknowledgment of the key characteristics defining Charlotte Perriand’s work and sensibility, the exhibition taking place in the M77 rooms is divided into thematic parts.

The artist’s beloved and inspirational surroundings, the mountains, are the subject of a number of pictures in the exhibition’s opening section, which also includes a life-size portrait of Perriand dressed for the slopes. Then, on either side of her towering Parthenon, she has two pictures of her most well-known friends, Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger, which she took in 1933 while visiting Athens for an architecture convention. The exhibition continues with the series she called Art Brut, which is unrelated to the so-called outsider art current and features a number of natural objects that are frequently found on the Normandy beaches that are captured in still-life photographs before being revealed to be genuine works of art. With two large photographs of a block of ice held in her hands and transformed by Perriand into a symbol and metaphor, the overview on the ground floor level is brought to a close. In the middle of the photographs is the well-known image of a shirtless Perriand striking a triumphant pose on a peak in the Savoie mountains.

A selection of seascapes (boats, nets, and beach landscapes) and cityscapes (the metro, varied glimpses of ordinary life), taken in Croatia, England, Paris, and Japan, bring the trip to an end on the first level. There are pictures everywhere, taken as visual notes to inspire her overall creativity. Indeed, she would draw inspiration for both the design of her furniture and her building from the shapes of various items and structures.

The documentary Creer l’habitat au XXe Siecle, written and directed by Jacques Barsac, the father of her daughter Pernette, is also shown at the exhibition for the first time in Italy. With Charlotte’s participation, the 1985 documentary chronicles her career, life, hardships, and accomplishments over the course of fifty-seven minutes. Charlotte was then eighty years old. In addition to other elements that help to contextualize the extraordinary story of an outstanding woman, the movie includes a significant number of historical documents, archive images, sketches, plans, furnishings, and photographs.

Charlotte Perriand. The Avant-Garde is Female will be open to the public until Sunday 25 September 2022.

M77 Gallery
via Mecenate 77
20138 Milan
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