Anthony Vidler, "Asylums of Libertinage: de Sade, Fourier, Lequeu" in The Writing of the Walls: Architectural Theory in the Late Enlightenment, 1987.
THE ARCHITECTURAL UNDERGROUND
As for Lequeu-Architect, having lost the goods of his ancestors by the Revolutionary laws and by other misfortunes that resulted from them,
he is consoled by his wisdom in the paddock of the old Grand Cerf. There he cultivates the arts and the sciences he loves: wearied with the world (deceiver) and its extravagances, he searches in the solitary paths of the Fields for the secrets of nature, the course of the stars and
the heavens (whose God-given inventions are great); but above all, he applies himself to cultivate his soul in virtue (pure), that gift of God. Jean-Jacques Lequeu is the son of Jean-Jacques Francois Lequeu, Draftsman and contractor of joinery, but issue of the noble family of
Gaillon: having the same right of burial in the Tomb of his Ancestors.
J.-J. Lequeu, 1815. 33
If Jean-Jacques Lequeu had been a writer, he doubtlessly would be considered a member of the literary underground characterized so evocatively by the historian Robert Darnton, the crowd of Grub Street journalists, hacks, and
would-be philosophes who fed the commercial presses of the late Old Regime and the Revolution with translations, political broadsheets, gossip, popular treatises, and pornography.34 Among the architects of the late eighteenth century, Lequeu had no recognized place: the son of a provincial carpenter, without formal training in architecture or prior education, he had no access to salons or patrons; nor was he considered fit company by architects either of his generation or older.35 He belonged definitively and throughout his life to what might be called the low life of architecture. But, like his literary compeers, he had a skill that earned him a modest living until retirement, in his case draftsmanship. Of all the draftsmen of his generation whose work survives, Lequeu was indeed among the very best. His drawing teacher in Rouen, the academic painter Jean-Baptiste Descamps, attested to Lequeu's merit while Lequeu was still a student: "he has won the best prizes in our establishment; he draws well and has genius and conducts himself well."36 It was as a draftsman that he
found his first job in Paris, and successive bureaucratic administrations after 1800 used his talent to their advantage. The evidence of the hundreds of drawings he deposited in the Bibliotheque Royale in 1825, just before his death, shows his technical excellence in drawing and rendering to be little short of perfect.37
Like many inhabitants of Grub Street, Lequeu felt that his "genius deserved more than it received in the way of patronage, encouragement, and
public recognition. From the beginning to the end he thought of himself as an architect, worthy to stand beside the best and most celebrated architects of the age. His failure to persuade others of this had two results: the exaggerated paranoia and sense of persecution that ran through his writings and designs, many of which seem to have been conceived in revenge against more successful peers; and the suite of architectural fantasies that, to spite the same peers and to record his genius for posterity, he drew in his spare time between 1789 and 1825--drawings that leave the interpreter both silent in front of their meticulous accuracy, with all the beauty of anatomical and natural historical representations, and disturbed by their obsessive qualities.
Undoubtedly, Lequeu was something of a neurotic. He deserves and has received psychoanalytical interpretation, of the order Ernst Kris has afforded another late-eighteenth-century physiognomist, the sculptor Messerschmidt.38 Certainly, as Jacques Guillerme has pointed out in his incisive essays on Lequeu, "the plastic expression of the obsessions of a neuropath is a feast for the aesthetician and the psychiatrist."39 In Lequeu's case it was not only his pervasive narcissism and physiognomical fixations that qualify him as neurotic, psychotic, or schizophrenic, but also his preoccupation with names and smells (both perfumed and putrified), and with purification by air, water, and fire (as well as by soap), and his self-attested professional paranoia and resentment.40 His symptoms indeed uncannily match those of Messerschmidt, who similarly spent much of his later life sculpting images of his face in every conceivable distortion, whose resentment of the "academic gang" that persecuted him professionally was well known, whose study of physiognomy included self-portraits as a lecher, as afflicted with constipation, as responding to strong smells, as beaked like a bird, or as Priapus, and whose castration anxiety (Kris affirmed) was such as to lead him to embody the feminine in each of his portraits.41 On the evidence of his writings and drawings, Jean-Jacques Lequeu suffered from a similar ailment, which the psychoanalyst summed up tersely as "a psychosis
with predominating paranoid trends, which fits the general picture of schizophrenia."42 It would seem that such a personality, whether driven mad by circumstances or not, might well have provoked many of the insults he imagined. Certainly, he was neither literate nor mondain; his letters and drafts of letters as well as the fragments of text that cover his drawings are written with the autodidact's sense of spelling and reference, while his numerous self-portraits simply confirm the mediocre appearance verified by his official description as five feet tall with blue eyes, a large mouth, a prominent, straight nose, and chestnut hair.43 His life reveals no event outside his own thoughts that would have supported his ideas of grandeur; from Descamps' free drawing school in Rouen, he entered the office of Souffiot in Paris, where he worked under the older architect's nephew, Francois Souffiot, who had just returned from Rome.44 Here Lequeu drew up details for the orders and dome of Sainte Genevieve and, later, for the younger Soufflot's Hotel de Montholon.45 The
few private commissions he mentions before the Revolution may well be fictitious, for imaginary clients, or developed with more hope than substance. None of them was built, with perhaps the exception of the Maison de Plaisance of the Comte de Bouville, which Krafft later recorded as having reached first-floor level before 1789.46
Lequeu submitted a project for the Hotel de Ville of Rouen in 1786, which led to his reception as adjoint associé of the Rouen Academic in the same year, and he drew up a hospital design for Bordeaux in 1788.47 During the Revolution he acted as head of one of the public workshops in the faubourg Saint Antoine, until their suppression in 1791; he tried to attract attention by a number of "revolutionary" designs--a triumphal gate, "Gate of Paris" or "People's Arch" (1793); a "monument to the glory of a number of illustrious men"; a "monument for the exercise of the people's sovereignty" (1793). And in 1793, he ended by taking employment in the Bureau du cadastre as draftsman, first class. His salary of 2,000 francs a year was reduced to 1,800 francs; in 1797, he was working for the Commission of Public Works; in 1802, he
moved back to the cartography department of the Office of the Interior as a geographical draftsman, working on a new plan of Paris; he then worked in the bureau of statistics as a premier dessinateur géographe; his task was studying and delineating, cartographically, "the limits of vine cultivation, the limits of countries where French is spoken, their customs, commerce, etc., all the surfaces of the earth that act as pastures for all the different beasts, and also the smallest and largest farms"; finally, he moved, still in the Interior Department, to the drawing office of the Bâtiments civils, again registering the plans and lot lines of Paris buildings.48 On August 12, 1815, he received a letter from the secretary of the Minister of the Interior, the historian de Barante, informing him that, "forced by the need for strict economy in the expenses of the minister," he was to be retired, but with a pension, a result of the new government's desire "to proceed with justice."49
From 1786, Lequeu had lived in the same apartment, in the cul-de-sac called the Passage du Grand-Cerf, off the rue St. Denis, quarreling incessantly with the landlord through letters complaining of the noisy tenants on the fifth floor, who night and day dropped bottles on the floor, making his ceiling tremble and his windows shake: "you remember that my room is a study where I work, that people in my house should not hear all uproar ... since I myself have nothing in common with that sort of worker."50 In this retreat, "the enclos of the old Grand Cerf," Lequeu prepared the final drawings for his Architecture civile, never to be published, and advertised vainly for customers who would buy his work, publicizing in little paragraphs, as if talking to his only audience, his illnesses and his final change of address to 8, rue des Deux-Portes St. Sauver, "the first stair to the left." He warns the public that he is "little known in the confines of this courtyard."51 A year later, he took all his drawings, the manuscript copies of pamphlets on subjects ranging from "A Natural Method Applied to the Elementary Principles of Drawing Leading to the Graphic Perfecting of the Outline of the Head" to a "Letter on Washing, Which One Could Call the Soaping of Paris, Addressed to Mothers of a Family," and deposited them in the Bibliotheque royale. Nothing more was heard of him.52
On one level, such a career is noteworthy only for its typicality. If he had been more of a writer, Lequeu would have been known for the kind of scurrilous and libelous tracts common in politics and pornography, which thrived on rumor and innuendo. Indeed, outlines for several libelles of the kind common before the Revolution are to be found in his papers. During the Revolution, he copied, no doubt for future reference, a placard posted on the Louvre attacking the reputations of the academic and royalist "party" headed by "the septuagenarian Boullée, a kind of madman in architecture," and comprising the "fawning Ledoux," "the phlegmatic charlatan Le Roy," and others accused of
rigging the jury appointed by the Convention to benefit their students.53 Lequeu's explanatory note, written in the same tone, implied, indeed, that he might well have been the author, who had signed himself "le juste." Similarly, on the back of his letter of retirement, Lequeu drafted a long and bitter expose of architects and employees of the ministry whose "crimes" had gone unreported and unpunished; he called the exposé, "Long note on the Shady Dealings (tripotages) in the Bâtiments civile." It gave details of payoffs to architects and experts, from Rondelet ("arrogant") and Bruyere to Gisors ("stonecutter"). Other notes, couched in the form of dramatic dialogues, indict Brongniart (for stealing the decorations of Ledoux's Hotel de Montmorency during the period of Revolutionary vandalism), Belanger (for his prerevolutionary mistresses, present debauches, and financial dealings), Chalgrin ("jealous and dishonest"), Cellerier ("passionate for the beautiful singers of the Opera, who prostituted himself"), and others.54
But his chief mode of attack, lacking literary skills, was through design, by means of which he succeeded in satirizing and throwing into question all the sacred conventions of the academy and fashion alike. At the same time, he revealed his peculiar graphic version of an unending warfare against authority in every form, from other architects and writers of books to political factions and ministerial employers; but by the same token, these antagonistic drawings were also the instruments by which he might appeal to the very patronage of those he attacked. The project for the "Porte de Parisis," exhibited in the Salle de Liberte in 1792 and then later inscribed with irony, "Drawn in order to save me from the guillotine," was only the most celebrated example of a continuous practice in which Lequeu would apparently affirm a position only to deny or neutralize it by a superscription either ironic or resentful. He subjected classicism, traditional iconography, institutional programs, religions, exotic styles, Freemasonic practices, and individuals to this relentless play, which took the form of a kind of architectural dismemberment, a physiognomy en abime, which mocked all the verities of the theory of character even as it established, however unwittingly, the subversive codes of a libertine architecture.
THE LIBERTINE GAZE
Lechery is in the eyes, in the countenance, in the gesture, and in the
D. Diderot, "Lubrique, Lubricite," Encyclopédie.55
It has often been pointed out that Lequeu was as interested in his own face as he was in the spelling of his name. Philippe Duboy has listed nineteen variants of his signature; some simple differences in abbreviation or appellation, others obvious puns on "la queue" (tail) or "le queux" (cook).56 There are as many self-portraits, some drawn as such, others hidden, others more subtly
implied or transformed. The earliest, dated 1786, is of "Jn. Jacques Le Queu, twenty-nine years old," presented in profile with curled wig, hair drawn back by a ribbon, silk cravat, and top-coat; it is the portrait of an upwardly mobile professional, confident at the beginning of a promising career, surmounting an imaginary coat of arms that played on Lequeu's Masonic connections and included a rebus of his name. It appears that it was drawn to celebrate Lequeu's election as an associate member of the Académie de Rouen.57 The second portrait, dated 1792, is of "Jean Jacque Le Queu Jur. Architect."58 He looks out from an architectural niche, as from the private box of a theater, his head resting on his right arm, elbow propped on a pile of folios bearing the titles of Lequeu's graphic works since 1789. He is
dressed in his draftsman's jacket; his hair is short, parted in the middle, and slightly curled at the ends. His face is in studied repose, neither haughty nor submissive, his gaze direct but serious. It is the portrait of a grave man, "one who never laughs," as Diderot might have defined it, certainly the opposite of frivolous; he is resting his reputation on his works, others of which are hidden in the recess below his window, but he has the air of having submitted with difficulty to his fate.59 The third portrait, which logically enough carries no date, is that of "J. J. De Queux"; it is represented carved in bas-relief on his tomb, surmounted by two variants of an appropriate iconographic monument, one with all the emblems of Freemasonry that symbolized his métier as draftsman, "ornaments of instruments suitable to worldly men and that replace the cross of Christ," the other hidden beneath, on a flap of paper, with a cross marking the resting place of "the author, brother of Jesus; he has carried the cross all his life."60 The face is again in profile, facing left, and
shows Lequeu as if on a classical coin, dignified like a Caesar. It is the portrait of an emperor buried with full honors, his tomb bearing the tears of mourning, a truncated column carrying the motifs of his triumph.
It is clear from these three representations alone that Lequeu had a taste for staging his identities, not only by respelling his name and by substituting the aristocratic "de" for "le," but also by dramatic changes in convention. These conventions are not, however, as straightforward or as readable as they seem at first glance. Each portrait seems to hide as much as it reveals: that of 1786 has no gaze, showing only the projecting profile, as if drawn by Silhouette or Lavater; its apparent confidence is belied by the coat of arms, which hides
behind a bar, on which is displayed the rebus "LE" followed by a quail's tail, which represents, of course, "Le-queue"; to this is added a Masonic column and, behind that, a plumb line. The second portrait, which presents a full gaze, not only hides the titles of the folios, but also hides all emotions, in an enigmatic and entirely veiled expression. The third portrait is classical but wavers between monumentalizing a Christian and a Freemason.
The ambiguity of these self-portraits becomes more pronounced in the physiognomical self-portraits, where Lequeu used himself as a model for registering the transformations of the face by different moods and passions. Here Lequeu gave a twist to this common pursuit in self-portraiture, begun by Lavater in the 1770s.61 Ostensibly, the series of five drawings falls readily into the Lavaterian convention, one also explored, as we have noted, by the sculptor Messerschmidt and by the many artists who contributed to Lavater's own illustrations, including Henry Fuseli.62 According to his own nomenclature, Lequeu shows himself pouting (la moue), pursing his lower lip (l'homme à la lippe), sticking out his tongue (Je tire la langue), winking (le borgne grimacier), and yawning (le grand bâilleur).63 Each attitude seems to imply a personality, an impression reinforced by the other attributes of the portraits--the hair, headgear, and dress. The pouter has a bandage on his head, rolls his protuberant eyes, and tenses the sinews of his
neck; his torso is bare, as in a medical or anatomical view. The pursed-lip face has half-closed eyes, and the hair is covered by a cap institutional in character, tattered and identified by the number "12"; Lequeu is wearing a simple jerkin, open at the neck. The winking face has a closed left eye while the right side of the mouth is drawn in a grimace; its title, "The One-eyed (or shady, suspicious, disreputable) Grimacer," endows this portrait with underworld undertones, while the pointed cap and the scarf wrapped round the neck seem to evoke the garb of a sans-culotte. The tongue-sticker is full face, with eyes half closed and closely cropped hair. The yawner, eyes tightly closed, mouth fully open displaying both rows of teeth, hides his bandages under a bowler hat and
wears a top coat. A superficial interpretation would find the pouter slightly mad and place him in an asylum; the lip-purser about to break down in childlike tears from disappointment; the tongue-sticker in an attitude of brazen defiance of the world; the winker as a sly but sad revolutionary gamin; and the yawner as near breaking point, perhaps with bureaucratic ennui. But these emotional states, measured on the face by line and posture, are what Lavater would have called the mobile and transitory effects of changing moods, as he distinguished between physiognomy proper ("the art of interpreting mental powers") and pathognomy ("the art of interpreting the passions").64
Lavater held that each pathognomical state might add to knowledge of a total physiognomy but independently could provide very little of general interest. In these terms, Lequeu's pathognomical portraits would be a measure of his physiognomical nature only if they added up to a coherent characterology.
Again we are in the presence of a staging, a posturing. Consistent in his attempt to trick the viewer, Lequeu turned himself into a model of those varied types that Lavater urged the artist and psychologist to study in hospitals, prisons, and asylums. What Gericault accomplished by visits to institutions, Lequeu simulated in his bedroom. Indeed, he was suspicious of physiognomical wisdom, noting the difficulty of "determining the true combination of passions" on the face because of their infinite number; one should, he concluded, "always examine all appearances with great care so as not to betray or disparage virtue."65 Here he might have been paraphrasing the article "Physionornie" in the Encyclopédie, which warned:
One must not judge from physiognomy. There are so many traits mingled in the face and bearing of men that it can often confuse, not to
mention the accidents that disfigure natural features and prevent the soul from manifesting itself, like smallpox, thinness, etc. One might
do better to speculate on the character of men by the pleasure they attach to certain figures that respond to their passions, but one would
still be tricked.66
The double play of Lequeu's knowing trickery was, on the one hand, to "explore" in an apparently scientific way all the appearances of madness, rage, despair, and pique, as if to ward off the attribution of these emotions to himself, on the other, to reveal his "true" feelings without dissembling them, thus following the path of the confessional. Such a stance allowed Lequeu, in his particular morality, a certain license, which was echoed by the inconsistency of his tomb. Here the deliberate confusion of truth and lie was reinforced by the question raised in the graphic method by which the two designs for the tomb are presented, the crucifix hidden beneath mundanity: is virtue hidden beneath falsity, or is the falsity, as appearance, the real truth? Would Lequeu prefer to have been a man of the world, worthy of his attributes, or a patient and virtuous cross-bearer?
The hidden self-portraits scattered through his drawings better reveal the nature of Lequeu's self-dispensed latitude, what he might, according to his self-imposed morality, permit himself. His unmistakable face peers out from the top of columns, as in the invented "Symbolic Order", and from the heads of statues. He is discovered in amorous engagement in a "Hammock of Love." More significantly, he emerges as Lequeu-femme, first in Arethusa's grotto, then in the bed of the wife of "the Beglierbejs de Rumelie," and then again directly in a self-portrait leaning back, dressed in a corsage, unlaced to reveal his full breasts.67 Here Lequeu's private transvestism, carried
to anatomical extremes, is covered once more by a supposed scientific interest, one that caused him to draw detailed studies of his own body as well as those of women, no doubt inhabitants of the same lodging-house, to explore the physiognomies of sexuality before, after, and even during the reproductive act. A series of biologically accurate, textbook details of the male and female organs is accompanied by a textual gloss that turns them into pseudo-pornographic displays--"pseudo" because the texts hide their message in apparently moralizing epigraphs. There is a drawing, obviously a self-portrait, of a male member "soft, and hanging without movement," which is labeled contradictorily, "Lewd Posture of Bacchus," and another, completing the classical pantheon, of the female organs viewed from between raised legs, entitled, "The Infamous Venus Lying Down, Lewd Posture D'après Nature."68
Lequeu-narcissist, was, then, also Lequeu-voyeur; he showed himself as such in a drawing that places him in a garden, in a "lecherous posture," slyly listening in on the conversation of two young lovers. Other portraits, evidently of prostitutes, some dressed in religious habit, some asleep in bed, others signaling from windows and niches, all drawn from life, reveal an artist without studio or models, whose desire of the eye at least was satisfied by his fellow tenants in the brothel of the Passage du Grand Cerf.69
Such physiognomic excursions would be of little interest, best consigned to the history of sexuality before Krafft-Ebing, if it were not for the fact that Lequeu was consistent in at least one level of representation, that of the lubricious gaze, applying it not only to the more obvious subjects but also, with significant effect, to architecture. For these naturalistic studies of self and others were simply the preface to his more "serious" designs for buildings, a kind of prearchitectural research into what Lequeu clearly regarded as the science of
The application of the idea of physiognomy to architecture was not new: the comparison of facades and faces was entrenched in the classical anthropomorphic tradition. But it had gained in currency from the mid-eighteenth century with the attempt to develop a coherent theory of character for different building types. Blondel had even superimposed human profiles on architectural profiles, comparing in this way the Tuscan Order, as drawn by Scamozzi, with the head of a young warrior à la Leonardo, and the same order by Andrea Palladio with the head of a bearded sage.70 The concept of physiognomy was similarly adopted by Ledoux and Quarremere de Quincy, and especially by Le
Camus de Mezieres, to refer to the way in which lines and shapes might evoke certain sensations, as they did in nature, thereby refining, the architect's knowledge of characterization.71 Ledoux's prison at Aix was designed expressly to bear the countenance of crime.72 As such, the analogy between buildings and faces was useful enough and persisted in theory and criticism well into the nineteenth century. Lequeu, author of a treatise on facial representation, took the idea to its extreme and most disruptive conclusion:
that with all its potential for emotional description and personal expression, every building has a face, not simply as analogy, but in fact. It is significant that in more than two hundred drawings, almost without exception, Lequeu presented his designs in elevation or section; his buildings always have an orthographic personality, but rarely a plan.
His most obvious physiognomic studies for buildings are well known and often cited as examples of architecture parlante. There is the huge replica of a cow that stands as a cowshed waiting to receive the cows through an entrance between its forelegs. There are the various temples--the Temple of Divination, with its literally "oracular" facade, entered through a giant keyhole; the half-eyed, almost blind mausoleum to Voltaire and his family (commemoration of his genius or celebration of his death?); and the almost carnivorous entrance to the grotto of Mary Magdelene. Rural fabriques--the henhouse and the dairy--are invested with the characteristics of their inhabitants. Giant doors open like mouths, in warehouses for gunpowder storage or as entrances into Chinese temples of light. Not surprisingly, these faces have the same enigmatic qualities as Lequeu's self-portraits--they might be characterized as having moods as they wink, frown, orate, defy, hide, or protect their inner recesses from the viewer.
Each of these drawings reveals a somewhat different procedure, drawn, as Emil Kaufmann has noted, from the repertory of characterization established by late-eighteenth-century architects, from the simple application of attributes or carved symbols that designate the building's purpose, to the genre or expressive effect of the facade as a whole, whether elegant or terrifying.73 But Lequeu's method differed fundamentally from these general attempts to make architecture "speak to the eyes," precisely because, while Boullée and Ledoux worked with all the apparatus of classicism and the abstract forms that comprised its logical, rational foundation, Lequeu, for the first time in so
extensive a manner, constituted his "buildings" with non architectural elements. He fabricated them, that is, using natural, inorganic, or manufactured objects that directly related to the subject of the composition, but which were not in themselves drawn from a known architectural lexicon. The difference might be measured by a comparison between, for example, Ledoux's House for the Coopers and Lequeu's Cowshed. Ledoux used abstract geometry to construct a house with simulated "hoops" on the facade, and in three dimensions the house formed an intersecting barrel-vault, simulating the object of fabrication; the whole was conceived within an analogical framework whereby a recognized
architectural or geometric form stood for something else. In Lequeu's Cowshed, on the other hand, mimesis was taken far beyond any such architectural figuration, and a giant sacred cow, natural and asymmetrical in stance, became a direct picture of its inhabitants. Similarly, Lequeu's "attributes"--the milk jugs that serve as waterspouts, the rooster that crowns the henhouse, the animal heads that ornament the gateway to the hunting park-were neither conventional architectural motifs nor conventionalized in any way that would make them "architectural." They were simply replicas of their originals, if not the originals themselves.
In an analysis of the portraits of Arcimboldo, built up out of vegetables, flowers, shells, and kitchen utensils, Roland Barthes has pointed out the particular techniques involved in such picture-language: in assembling his "composite heads" so that they are first broken into forms that resemble those of food prepared for the kitchen and then recomposed so that these kitchen forms themselves signify not themselves but the parts of a face, Arcimboldo, claims Barthes, "made a true language out of painting."74 This language is based on metaphor; the "canvas," concludes Barthes, "becomes a true laboratory of tropes": a shell stands for an ear, metaphorically; a school of fish stands for
water, metonymically; fire becomes, allegorically, a flaming head; spring fruit stands allusively for spring; fish that one time stand in for mouths, other for noses, create antanaclases. All these substitutions make up an encyclopedia of things representing other things.75 In this sense, Barthes observes that the painting of Arcimboldo is less painted than written; it becomes a dictionary not of words but of images: "the 'things' are presented didactically as in a book for children."76
In much the same way, Lequeu's buildings are made up not of columns, pediments, waterspouts, and windows, but of the objects of life, if not of the kitchen. His design for a tavern uses wine bottles as waterspouts and wine casks piled on top of each other as rusticated columns, while soup bowls, salad plates, and wine glasses form the surroundings of windows; the dome of the henhouse is composed of an egg. Lequeu-cuisinier similarly treats architectural elements as nonarchitectural: the transposition of a keyhole to the entry of the Temple of Divination, the combinations of exotic and historical elements without regard for stylistic homogeneity or antiquarian accuracy, and the
mechanical assemblage of fragments of observatories for the Rendez-vous de Bellevue show that architecture itself has become subjected to the
same operations as Arcimboldo's kitchen objects, a disassembled lexicon of already formed images to be reassembled into something else that is not architecture. Here Lequeu has moved one step beyond Arcimboldo, as if, having decomposed a face into its principal shapes, he then remade the face with facial elements that stood for other facial elements--the mouth for the eyes and so on. Such a process cannot, properly, be called architecture parlante. It is instead a transformation of architecture into writing, an écriture architecturale; rather than forcing architecture to speak of its own character, it makes writing out of architecture. Lequeu's draftsman's revenge on architects is to absorb their métier into his, thereby completely undermining all of its codes.
Thus Lequeu's libertine gaze did not stop at the specifically erotic, pornographic, and obscene. Certainly, instances of phallocentrism are multiplied throughout his architectural drawings: overtly, as in the garden statue of Priapus, with his face represented in the traditional manner as a composite of a cock's head, male member as nose ("an extraordinary member," noted Lequeu), and human neck; or covertly, as in the phallic symbolism of the chapel dedicated to the Revolutionary cult of Theophilanthropy, its credo partly hidden behind a tall, round-topped column reminiscent of Pococke's and Norden's depictions of Eastern standing stones.
Lubricity, as Diderot noted, "betokens a violent temperament," and Lequeu's drawings, without exception, dramatically assaulted the received
images of architecture.77 De Sade, also libertine, in practice as well as in imagination, used architecture as the setting and confirmation of his fictitious rites, institutionalizing a kind of topsy-turvy carnival of oppositional mores; Fourier, more gentle, but still resentful, found solace in a world designed, so to speak, from its foundations. Both de Sade and Fourier in a sense left architecture where they found it, de Sade with the conventional spaces of eighteenth-century theatricality and institutional form, Fourier in the simple extension of the programmatic, protofunctionalist discourse that purported to render plans transparent to use. Neither of them seriously undermined architectural codes or explored questions of representation. Manfredo Tafuri has pointed out that a truly Sadian architecture is not to be found in de Sade; nor, similarly, is a truly utopian architecture to be found in Fourier. Lequeu, however, directly implicated in representational problems, discovered the way to undermine architecture at the very point that late-eighteenth-century theory had proposed to situate its authenticity: the proper expression of truly rooted character.