The diaries of L’Obscurier
The hugely influential artist, architect, sculptor, painter and social engineer revolutionised the way we think about the built environment and then drowned in the Mediterranean
Translated by Danvers Couchmere from the original haughty French
February 28, 1954.
It is the last Friday of the month. I make my customary visit to the brothel. It is most important to keep every aspect of one’s life as regulated as possible and within a strict time-table.
The simpleton will ask: why does the greatest Architect-Philosopher of our times seek the company of a whore, when he has the ample-bosomed World of Plastic Arts at his feet? I answer, so:
1) I am French.
2) I am of ‘middle years’.
3) A brothel visit enables amusing intercourse with Society’s lower orders, providing valuable in-sights into the aspirations of common people who - let us not forget - often populate our modern buildings.
Of course I insist that the boudoir is disembellished in advance of my arrival. All drapes, heavy furnishings & cetera must be removed, including those nauseating ‘poufs’ in gold and black velvet that are all-the-rage now-a-days. It is absolutely essential that any naked human form beneath my gaze must be similarly Modernistic and unadorned. Tattoos are unacceptable; all cheap jewellery, especially that which features the offensive folly of Peasant Art, is a crime.
Naturally I sketch and take notes throughout these encounters. The enquiring mind of L’Obscurier never sleeps - unlike quite a few of the women I have met here, I must say. As my companion for the afternoon nods drowsily through my discourse on the Brutal Majesty of Obsolescence, I look from the window to the streets below and leaf through my Notes Towards The Bordello of To-Morrow.
Conclusions so far are rather fractured and inconclusive. The Common People appear to desire: money, trinkets, plentiful supplies of chocolates, timely departure of client. The Architect-Philosopher meanwhile desires: emptiness, emptiness above all else. I jot down the phrase ‘Emptiness is the only true completeness’. The sentence itself is empty of meaning - a lattice-work of phonemes surrounding a void - and is therefore perfect.
A Theory of Human Sexuality in the Modern Epoch: human congress must be predictable and repetitive if it is to have any meaning for the Man of To-Day.
But what of the Woman of To‑Day? Again, I admire the empty nonsense of that superfluous thought. My outings to the bordello are of no consequence to Mme L’Obscurier, who for some time has been ‘Athenian’ in her approach to marital intimacy.
Release, at last, from the tyranny of my own brilliance. I am aboard my yacht, The Paradox. The Mediterranean is calm, its azure water inviting. I must swim, and so order two or three of the servants into the water to clear any floating seaweed within 50m and to remove any foreign objects - ugh! - clinging to the hull.
An hour and a half later, I am informed that the sea is prepared. As I paddle myself round and round The Paradox I wonder at the Stupidity of People. The servants have removed EVERYTHING from the side of the yacht - including the deck ladder and the lifebelts!
Ian Martin is away