For its seventh summer exhibition, MAMO Arts Centre, located on the rooftop of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille invited Los Angeles-based artist Alex Israel to create site-specific works.
MAMO Alex Israel Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE CONTENT(S)
Israel’s exhibition takes as its starting point Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman — which became upon its release the fifth most successful Hollywood film of all time. It not only spawned sequels, an animated spin-off series for TV, and extensive lines of branded merchandise, it also rebooted the comic book superhero as prime content for the silver screen, reigniting the craze for a genre that continues to dominate the global box office today. The success of Batman was in no small part indebted to its powerful Academy Award-winning production design, by Anton Furst. Among the film’s most memorable “hero” props were a reimagined, torpedo-shaped Batmobile, and the Gotham City Police Department’s Bat Signal, which was fashioned for the film from a World War II-era spotlight to project the bat logo into the foggy Gotham sky.
Inspired by Marseille’s “gritty” history and Le Corbusier’s brutalist concrete architecture, Israel has re-imagined the rooftop pavilion and deck of the Cité Radieuse as Gotham, and as a temporary home for two new sculptures that appropriate Batman’s most iconic props.
Image: Stéphane Aboudaram WEARECONTENTS-MAMO-ALEX-ISRAEL
MAMO, Cité Radieuse, Arts Center Unité d’habitation Le Corbusier, 280 boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille
Exhibition, through to – August 31, 2019 mamo.fr
About The Artist
Alex Israel’s practice includes the ongoing use of rented film props. He identifies props as carrying the stardust of Hollywood, an immeasurable quality akin to the aura or infrathin of the readymade. For Israel, rented props are like inanimate actors, performing the role of readymade sculpture in the gallery, before returning to their former lives in the property departments of various studios, or in various prop warehouses around Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.
Alex Israel first began renting props at Warner Brothers Studio, where he also makes his paintings and the sets for video works such as As It Lays, 2012 and As It Lays 2, 2019. The studio has granted permission for Israel to access and activate both the iconic 1989 Batmobile and the Bat Signal for this exhibition. The Batmobile will be installed as a sculpture within the rooftop pavilion, becoming the centrepiece of an installation of smoke, light, and sound which will be on view throughout the day during regular exhibition hours. The Bat Signal will live on the exterior deck, from which it will cast its enormous beam high above Marseille, making the exhibition publicly visible from miles away, all across the city. @alexisrael