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Genius Loci, a programme of immersive exhibitions curated by Marion Vignal, brings together architectural heritage and contemporary creation. Each edition highlights hidden or little-known architectural treasures, and provides exceptional access to private locations usually closed to the public.

After the villa “l’Ange Volant” chosen for the 2021 edition, created in 1921 by architect and designer Gio Ponti, then Auguste Perret’s apartment, designed in 1932 for the 2022 edition, Génius Loci has invited us, for this 3rd edition, to the “Maison Atelier” of painter Amédée Ozenfant, an architectural gem built by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in 1923. 

We enter one of the first buildings by Le Corbusier, then that of a friend to the painter, located in the 14th arrondissement of Paris opposite the Montsouris reservoirs.

Characterised by a monumental corner glass roof, bearing witness to the beginnings of the architect’s modern style, this workshop house reveals itself through different levels and spaces designed according to human activity. Here, it’s all about heights.  The second floor was used for bedrooms and the kitchen, while the second floor was used for a living space bathed in light and offering an unobstructed, green view… Finally, a roof terrace to better appreciate the outside environment.

On the second floor, we are invited to discover the “Roman” works of multi-disciplinary artist Benoit Maire, most of which were created at the Villa Medicis, partner of the event, during his residency between 2021 and 2022. 

Furniture, paintings, sculptures and videos converse with the radical purity of this place, delivering a real architectural and artistic journey. 

Among the works to be seen, an aluminium sculpture leaning against the wall of the library, a space for the elevation of the spirit for Le Corbusier, nestled high up, confuses visitors. Entitled “La rose est sans pourquoi”, and inspired by a poem by the German poet Angelus Silesius, this child’s head staring at the horizon through the bay window questions our incessant quest for contemplation.

Another achievement, a Medicis lamp, on legs, in steel, a beautiful 1/100th scale reproduction of the Villa Medici, combines art, design and architecture. Then there’s the bronze and paint sculpture entitled “Fuite indexée” (Indexed Flight), which shows a man with no feet, kneeling on the ground, holding the body of a headless animal on his arm. Following an incident, the sculpture fell from the hands of the artist, who didn’t like his first version, and ended up dismembered, but finally finished… Here again, the artist never ceases to raise the question of time, whether in the creative process, in the natural world around us or in our very existence, like the great master of architecture who worked all his life to find the right balance between body and environment.

For the duration of the exhibition, the walls of this architectural gem vibrated with a dialogue between past and future.

Genius Loci and Benoît Maire at l’Atelier Ozenfant,

the 2023 edition 

in collaboration with la Villa Medicis & Académie de France, Rome.

geniusloci-experience.comMaison-Atelier Ozenfant53, avenue Reille 75014 Paris

Mélissa Burckel