Confessions of the Imperfect

Confessions of the Imperfect. 1848 – 1989 – today (a traverse through modern culture). 

1848 and 1989 are two points of reference for modern history. Two revolutions: the first is represented by a symbol of the barricade during the February Revolution and the second by the fall of the Berlin Wall. With the exhibition Confessions of the Imperfect the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) would like to highlight the current relevance of these two moments. Both have created a basis for our world. 1848 resulted in the modern constitution and our democratic nation state, and 1989 determined our current geopolitical world order.

As a Research assistant in the Van Abbemuseum, I was honored to have the opportunity to materialized all my research on Urban Utopias and Spanish Modern Architecture in one of the rooms of the exhibition. Thus, centering my attention in the `Pla Macià´, an ambitious urban organization for the city of Barcelona conceptualized between 1931 and 1938 by the G.A.T.C.P.A.C., Le Corbusier and P. Jeanneret, the light tables distributed in the space tried to configure a possible genealogy on the influence of the Garden City in Spain. Indeed, and following the straightforward critique against free-market Capital proposed by John Ruskin (1819-1900) and influenced by Howard’s Garden-Cities (1989) and Cebrià de Montoliu’s `Social Museum´ (1909-1920), the `Pla Macià´ represented one of the most coherent and ambitious urban developments of Barcelona, and soon was adopted in a more general process carried out by the CIAM in the search of the new city of the 20th century; what Le Corbusier referred to as `La Ville Radieuse´. All the research was moreover published in the book What’s the Use.

Confessions of the Imperfect was supported by Mondriaan Fund (Netherlands) and the Culture Programme of the European Union, and the exhibition is part of the five year programme The Uses of Art – on the legacy of 1848 and 1989, organised by L’Internationale.