So, I went to the Corbusier exhibition at the Barbican some while back.* I have to say I was not overly impressed; there was a lot of room given over to his sculpture which didn't really 'fill my plinth' and I left without really getting a sense of Who He Was. But this didn't matter as I got to pootle around the wonderful Barbican Centre and generally bask in sunshine, watching neurotic art students frolic among the bricks and fountains.
One bit of the exhibition really did grab me. In fact - it blew me away. About halfway through the top floor, they had a cabinet of various writings and books. And one, Towards A New Architecture** was open at a certain page, and the text plucked some hidden chord inside:
"...great white marble space filled with light. Beyond you can see a second similar space of the same dimensions, but in half light and raised on several steps (repetition of a minor key); on each side a still smaller space in subdued light; turning round, you have two very small spaces in shade. From full light to shade, a rhythm. Tiny doors and enormous bays. You are captured, you have lost the sense of common scale. You are enthralled by a sensorial rhythm (light and volume) and by an able use of scale and measure, into world of its own which tells you what it sets out to tell you. What emotion, what faith!"
I know it's abstract, but it really caught me. The language is simple but powerful.
* I'm not all about shooty-shooty games and kittens here. Oh dear me no.
** 1927, Brewer, Warren & Putnam. Hey, I'm back at Uni with footnotes and such.