Claude Parent

A Needle Walks into a Haystack, Claude Parent, La colline de l’art 2014. © Tate Liverpool

Claude Parent is one of the most radical figures of French avant-garde architecture, and La colline de l’art (Art Hill) is the latest demonstration of the oblique function – a principle of architecture he developed in the 1960s with theorist Paul Virilio, made manifest in buildings such as Villa Drusch, Versailles 1963-65 and the Church of Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay, Nevers 1966. Defying convention, the idea proposes that buildings incorporate ramps and slopes, avoid right angles and be wall-free where possible. Within such constructions, bodies behave in new and unusual ways that heighten the senses as well as reshape interpersonal dynamics and hierarchies. Parent applied the oblique function to his own home in Neuilly near Paris, drawings of which can be found in the second floor special collection display.

Throughout his career, the self-taught Parent has disseminated his ideas through various tools – drawings, models and plans – as a means of seeing the world, not restricted to abstract propositions. His ideas continue to make their way into other architects’ constructions, changing for some people how they live and how they experience their surroundings. Parent’s La colline de l’art exposes the viewer to this very change.

Claude Parent (b. 1923 in Neuilly-sur-Seine) lives in France. Among his most famous of his buildings are Maision Bordeaux le Pecq, 1966; Villa Drusch, Versailles, 1963; The church of Sainte Bernadette du Banlay, Nevers 1963-1966. He participated at the Venice Biennial, 1970 and was given the Grand National Prize of Architecture, 1979. He is a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, France.