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Phase III – Le Modulor

A group exhibition Curated by Dr David Ryan, Benet Spencer and Katharina Schmidt at Galerie Hors Les Murs, Marseilles in November 2019.

Press release:

Phase III - Le Modulor was the third exhibition in a series of four (Cambridge, Toulouse, Marseille, London) exploring the relationship between painting, drawing and architecture. Phase III was developed in partnership with Les BeauxArts de Marseille, the public art school of this city, and with the participants of its research seminar ARC Modulor. Collaborative partners also included the University of Greenwich, London and Réseau Peinture, a research network between art schools and universities in Europe.

The presence in Marseille of Le Corbusier’s famous building, La Cité Radieuse, was the main background of this exhibition. More specifically, a key starting point was an interest in the Modulor, an anthropometric scale of proportions created by Le Corbusier in 1948 and used within his Unité d'habitation buildings. The Modulor embodies a "range of harmonious measurements on a human scale, universally applicable to architecture". Located within a Western humanist tradition which goes back to Protagoras "Man, a measure of all things", and subsequently revived in Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, Le Corbusier's Modulor can be read as an updated version of a masculine universalism. It represents as a normative the body of a man of 1.83m, around whom Le Corbusier conceived the structure and the size of the "housing units".

After one year of work, the participants of the ARC Modulor decided to build a wooden structure which was deliberately cumbersome. This structure, constructed with the help of the staff of Les Beaux-Arts de Marseille, was physically and conceptually an introduction to the theme. It referred to the measurements of an apartment in Le Corbusier's "Unité d'Habitation". The space of the gallery "HLM" was thus restructured and allowed to cohabit pieces by:

  • David Ryan, Benet Spencer and their guests, Bernice Donszelmann, Jaime Gili, Olivier Gourvil, Tim Renshaw, Anna Salamon, April Virgoe, Daniela Yaneva.
  • MA or PhD students from University of Greenwich, School of Design Architecture programme.
  • Participants and guests of the ARC Modulor in Les Beaux-Arts de Marseille: Luisa Ardila, Hyungsub Choi, Jagna Ciuchta, Silva Dagson, Philippe Delahautemaison, Jaime Gili, Lise Guehenneux, Chourouk Hriech, Erica Monzali, Issa-Salman Muslum, Hannibal Nseir, Christophe Perreaud, Jean-Baptiste Sauvage, Katharina Schmidt, Sarah le Treut, Jun Wei, Jin Xu.

Related links:

Phase I (2016)

Phase II - Imagining Architecture (2018)

Phase IV: Intersections – Art/Architecture (2020)