From 28 August, MAMO, the contemporary art centre founded by Ora Ito and located atop Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, will expand into Marseille, presenting INVADER WAS HERE, an exhibition that will extend throughout the urban landscape.
Invader has selected MAMO as the strategic base — workshop and focal point — for a large-scale exhibition-invasion, and as the hub for disseminating mosaics in the city. The project spills out of the arts centre to animate and encompass the local area with a tribute to the Phocean city – and its Mediterranean culture. By expanding the exhibition format into an invasion, INVADER WAS HERE explores what it means to be in situ, which is at the heart of the artist’s approach and MAMO’s programming.
At Cité Radieuse, visitors will discover that MAMO has been transformed into a unique installation-workshop bearing all the hallmarks of the modus operandi of the artist who worked here in secret this summer: Invader was here. With its maps, drawings, tools, masks and costumes, the installation showcases the use of the site as an operational nerve centre. Using the workshop as a home base, the artist placed mosaics around MAMO; further afield, a monumental I invade MARSis visible from the roof terrace, and from there, the invasion spreads throughout Marseille. From the Calanques to Notre- Dame de la Garde, via the Old Port, L’Estaque, the Corniche, the northern districts, Le Cours Julien and Les Baumettes, Invader has applied his concept of “urban acupuncture” to the area via strategically positioned works.
An invasion map, designed specifically for the exhibition, allows visitors to follow in the artist’s footsteps around the city and view the full extent of the intervention.
The mosaics are all unique in terms of their colours, composition and size, and have been designed to reflect their location in Marseille, the spirit of the city, and the local culture. The works combine a distinctive pixelated style derived from the low-tech 8-bit video game aesthetic and a technique that has been used since Antiquity, the mosaic, a unique marriage that Invader has employed since the outset of his career. The colour palette, which is an ode to the Mediterranean, is primarily an array of blues with contrasting white, whereas the color palette at Cité Radieuse is distinctly Corbuséan. In addition to space invaders, many of the motifs conjure up regional themes and iconic emblems from popular culture, with the addition of visual puns and poetic touches, offering fresh perspectives of the city by highlighting unusual sites.
This is a significant artistic invasion: Marseille is the second largest city to be invaded by Invader in France after Paris. It was a huge physical and technical challenge to carry out an incognito operation in an extremely busy city at the height of summer.
This special carte blanche exhibition forms part of the cycle initiated at MAMO by Ora Ito, which enables a major artist to create an installation in situ each year.
Exhibition-invasion “Invader was here”
MAMO, Cité Radieuse Arts Centre
280 Boulevard Michelet, 13008 Marseille From August 28 to November 11, 2020. Daily, from 9am to 6pm. Free admission.
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