a place by the sea
Synopsis:

In the quiet village of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French Riviera, furniture designer Eileen Gray built her villa E-1027. As an architect, the 51-year-old Gray was self-taught and this modernist villa – a summer house for herself and her lover, the architect and editor Jean Badovici – was her debut. Five years after the completion of the house the couple’s relationship foundered and Gray left both Badovici and the villa. Badovici stayed on in the house and in 1938 invited Le Corbusier to stay in the villa. The influential architect sent Gray a letter, praising her design: ‘I am so happy to tell you how much those few days spent in your house have made me appreciate the rare spirit which dictates all the organisation, inside and outside, and gives to the modern furniture – the equipment – such dignified form, so charming, so full of spirit.’ 
Without consulting Gray the Swiss architect painted a total of seven expressive murals on the house’s naked walls, in sharp contrast to Gray’s refined design. Gray was furious about this violation of her house, and considered it ‘an act of vandalism’. She would never set foot in the villa again. Architecture critics have described it as ‘an act of naked phallocracy’, and was of the opinion that the great architect, ‘seemingly affronted that a woman could create such a fine work of modernism, asserted his dominion, like a urinating dog, over the territory.’ 

After the war, Le Corbusier returned to the villa to restore murals that had been damaged, and following this he built a small cabin – later known as Le Cabanon – on the adjoining property. Gray referred to the small and primitive cabin as a ‘watchdog house’. Here Le Corbusier spent his final summers until his death in 1965, most likely from a heart-attack, as he swam in the waves below E-1027. The bright white villa on the cliff terrace may well have been the last thing he saw before succumbing to the waves. 
In the decades to follow the condition of the house began to seriously deteriorate, and the unique furniture made for the villa was removed. Squatters occupied the house, ruining its interiors, breaking windows and scribbling on the walls. This deterioration of the villa escalated until it finally became public property around the turn of the millennium. 
Since then a protracted and difficult restoration process has been under way. Ironically, it was Le Corbusier’s murals that set the wheels of restoration in motion. The work has been marked by controversy, not least whether or not the murals should be regarded as important works of cultural heritage or a violation of the integrity of Gray’s architecture. 
Over time Eileen Gray’s name had become far less widely known, which led to the supposition that it was Le Corbusier who had designed this functionalist masterpiece at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. 
Today the beautiful coastal path that leads to E-1027 is called Promenade Le Corbusier and the area in which the villa is situated is known as Site Le Corbusier. Five of the murals have been carefully restored and are now a permanent part of the iconic villa. 
The work A Place by the Sea consists of a series of photographs in 
black and white from the villa E-1027 and its surroundings, and a text-based work that tells the dramatic story of the villa, Eileen Gray and Le Corbusier

Read full text based work “A Place by the Sea” here. 

13 black and white archival ink-jet photographs & text based work printed on cotton paper (approx. 1000 words).

The project is generously supported by Arts Council Norway, Norwegian Photographic Fund & Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond.http://espengleditsch.com/pdf/a_place_by_the_sea.pdfshapeimage_2_link_0
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A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
cvhttp://espengleditsch.com/pdf/cv.pdf
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO

READ TEXT BASED WORK «A PLACE BY THE SEA» HEREhttp://espengleditsch.com/pdf/a_place_by_the_sea.pdfshapeimage_14_link_0
A PLACE BY THE SEA, 2016 
INSTALLATION VIEW, NOPLACE, OSLO

READ TEXT BASED WORK «A PLACE BY THE SEA» HEREhttp://espengleditsch.com/pdf/a_place_by_the_sea.pdfshapeimage_15_link_0

A PLACE BY THE SEA #1 (E-1027), 2016
50X53 CM
archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper
framed and mounted on aluminium
A PLACE BY THE SEA #1 (E-1027), 2016
50X53 CM
archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper
framed and mounted on aluminium

A PLACE BY THE SEA #2 (E1027 TABLE AND MURAL), 2016

76X60 CM

archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper

framed and mounted on aluminium

A PLACE BY THE SEA #5 (EXTERIOR MURAL), 2016
33X45 CM
archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper
framed and mounted on aluminium
A PLACE BY THE SEA #3 (LIVING ROOM VIEW), 2016
60X76 CM
archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper
framed and mounted on aluminium

A PLACE BY THE SEA #4 (INTERIOR CORNER), 2016

60X76 CM

archival black & white ink-jet print on cotton paper

framed and mounted on aluminium