Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Open Hand

I think it might take a lot of time to understand Le Corbusier's open hand monument at Chandigarh. Of course, it's easy to to say, yep, giving and receiving, all of that, but really do we get it? Two things have make me think about it recently, firstly that when Le Corbusier was drawing his open hands, his wife Yvonne was probably making fists, she would die in 1957, famously cantankerous, fed up and inclined  toward the pastis. But he loved her all the same. Julie has started making fists too, she does it almost automatically, we joke about it, I prize her hands back open, then she even clenches her toes. I guess we get angrier as we get older. 
Then there is our all pervasive grab, the money grab, the steel, the catch it while you can, which seems the dynamic of our neoliberalist age. Indeed, in our lowest moments, it seems the only mechanism that animates us. Is everybody now just in it for the money? It's that or they're hanging on by their fingernails. What seems the purpose?
I had also not seen this drawing before, nor enjoyed Le Corbusier revived on YouTube, where he explains that the Open Hand monument was purposely set aside from the apparatus of state, that the hand moved like vane in the wind, and that the pit was for contemplation and debate about what might be real, and that there are always two sides (in this case obliquely set) to every argument. Indeed, I think he even used the word 'real'. What we are in now is not real, that's for sure, it's everyman and woman for themselves, and that should lead us to look very fondly back on Le Corbusier's idealism.

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