Les fleurs du mal, 2023

Álvaro Urbano, Les fleurs du mal, 2023; Metal, acrylic paint; 19 elements: 140 × 130 × 11.5 cm


The work was first exhibited as part of Álvaro Urbano’s first solo exhibition at Travesía Cuatro, L’Invitation au voyage.

Alluding to Baudelaire’s poem from his book Les fleurs du mal, the exhibition returns to the story of architect Eileen Gray’s infamous modernist villa by the Mediterranean sea, E-1027. Originally built as a holiday retreat for Gray and her then-partner Jean Badovici, E-1207 was an embodiment of simplicity and harmony, impeccably customized to fit the personal needs of its inhabitants. However, its existence as Gray’s masterpiece came to an end following its vandalism by the famed architect Le Corbusier, a friend of the couple who violently coveted the house and in jealousy painted Cubist murals over the walls. Eileen Gray never forgave Le Corbusier for his act of vandalism and legend has it that she never returned to E-1027.

Urbano resurrects the villa in the form of an animistic, sculptural installation suspended in time– staying true to Gray’s original archetypes and most notably, omitting any trace of Le Corbusier’s murals. As a playful reference characteristic of Urbano’s architectural environments, Urbano has left the spirit of the Swiss architect to hover in the space as parasitic fungi.