Whilst the real Villa Savoye stands under UNESCO protection as a world heritage site, in the Vejle fjord, Danish artist Asmund Havesteen-Mikkelsen has sunk a 1:1 replica of Le Corbusier’s masterpiece in his work ‘Flooded Modernity’.
Created as a part of ‘Floating Art’, an annual festival held by the Vejle Art Museum, the replica sits partially submerged in the waters beyond the institution. The piece stands—or sinks—as a critical statement about modernity: Namely, all that the movement promised, and all it failed to deliver. “For me, the Villa Savoye is a symbol of modernity and enlightenment,” explains the artist. “It represents the faith in the critical powers of the human mind in relation to progress and in our use of criticality in the public sphere.” His disillusionment follows a period defined by political mistrust and privacy breaches: “After these scandals, I think our sense of democracy and the public sphere has been distorted through the use of digital technologies to manipulate elections,” he explains. “Our sense of modernity has been ‘flooded’. I sense the need to ‘re-state’ our political institutions, because our old ones have ‘sunk’.”
Constructed from styrofoam, white painted plywood, and plexiglass, the piece is certainly lighter than the 1930 concrete original in Poissy, France. Villa Savoye is considered as one of Le Corbusier’s most significant works, its construction heralding an age of modernism and an optimistic end to ornamentation.