Designboom — Daniel Arsham takes over a Le Corbusier-rooftop in Marseille

Presse, Juin 2022
Photos © Stéphane Aboudaram | We Are Content(s)

Transforming the top floor of the building into a gym-inspired art space

Back in 2013, French designer Ora Ito inaugurated a creative space located on top of Le Corbusier’s La Cité Radieuse in Marseille. Dubbed MAMO (Marseille Modulor), the open-air art center invites every summer an artist to exhibit their work on both the interior and exterior spaces of the historic roof.

Straddling the line between art, architecture and performance, Daniel Arsham’s practice explores concepts of history, questioning our understanding of the past and the future through the prism of destruction. Through environments with eroded walls and stairs going nowhere, landscapes where nature overrides structures, and daily objects that look as if they were discovered many years in the future, the artist plays with both time and space.

Another recurring subject in his practice are sports, with a particular interest in basketball. In the past, we’ve seen him design a bronze-cast sculpture of an eroded basketball, as well as a limited-edition one for Tiffany & Co. But his interest in sports doesn’t rest on his own, but in that athletics and recreation are part of human culture since ancient times.

With Le Modulor du Basketball at MAMO, Arsham pays tribute to Le Corbusier in both style and design, blending themes of sport and history in a space which had historically functioned as a gymnasium. The intervention transformed the top floor of the building into a gym-inspired art space, with works that blend the visual language of the famed architect with the universe of basketball. The design references the colors of Unity d’Habitation and the proportions of the Modulor.

Arsham takes into consideration the building, and plays with Le Corbusier’s scale by highlighting the linear aspect of time, and how scale can expand and grow. The court floor mirrors the pastel yellows and blues seen in Corbusier’s Le Poeme de L!angle Droit (1955), along with the original sun detail, transformed into representations of basketballs found on banners, a flag, team uniforms and the court itself. The artist’s erosion techniques have also been applied and can be found on the basketball racks.

Outside, Arsham also presents a selection of eroded bronze sculptures, as well as his eroded DeLorean.

exhibition info:
name: Le Modulor Basketball
artist: Daniel Arsham
location: MAMO – Marseille Modulor
dates: June 25 to September 25, 2022
in partnership with: Galerie Perrotin