Bat Signal by Alex Israel on roof of Le Corbusier's Cite Radieuse in Marseille

Alex Israel projects Bat Signal from roof of Le Corbusier's Cite Radieuse

Multimedia artist Alex Israel has installed a Bat Signal at the MAMO Arts Centre on the roof of Le Corbusier's brutalist Cité Radieuse apartment block in Marseille, France.

Israel installed the spotlight projecting the outline of a bat as part of his Batman-focused exhibition at the Marseille Modulor (MAMO) Arts Centre, which occupies the rooftop of Cité Radieuse.

Bat Signal by Alex Israel on roof of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse in Marseille

The installation is based on Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman, and the Oscar-winning sets created by production designer Anton Furst.

Israel has reimagined several props that defined the film including the Bat Signal, which was made from a refurbished second world war searchlight for the film and used by Gotham City Police Department to call Batman. 

Bat Signal by Alex Israel on roof of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse in Marseille

The Los Angeles-based artist chose to focus on the superhero as both Marseille and the brutalist apartment block designed by Le Corbusier reminded him of Gotham – Batman's fictional home.

"I was inspired by the myth of Marseille, and that historically it's been a bit tough, rough and dangerous," Israel told BestDealStore2Buy. "And by Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse, which is made of concrete, and has a hyper-urban sensibility."

He added that he hopes people seeing the signal will realise that "childhood dreams can and do come true".

Bat Signal by Alex Israel on roof of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse in Marseille

Israel is the seventh artist to have created an installation at MAMO, which was established in 2013 by Ora Ito and occupies the roof and a theatre on the top floor of the brutalist building.

Alongside the spotlight Israel has installed a sculpture of the Batmobile car that the superhero drives in the film in the theatre space.

Previous installations at MAMO include Swiss artist Felice Varini creating a colourful optical illusion and French artist Daniel Buren installing a display of mirrors and coloured glass.

Ito commissioned Israel to create a distinctly different installation at the art centre than previous artists.

"I was interested in opening up the MAMO to a new direction: this exhibition is more pop, even if still with a strong conceptual statement, but less minimalist then the former ones," Ito told BestDealStore2Buy.

Bat Signal by Alex Israel on roof of Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse in Marseille

"I am fascinated by how Alex Israel managed to transfer the iconic word of Batman in a place that perfectly relates to the initial film set he is referring to, by understand the potential resonance allowed by the current context: a brutalist architecture, a gritty image of the city – be it real or imaginary," he added.

"He opens up the space of the MAMO to a new dimension, a fictional, cinematographic one."

Cité Radieuse apartment block is one of the most influential brutalist buildings of the 20th century. Completed in 1952, the 18-storey slab block was the first, and best-known, of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation.

Within the block apartment 50 has been overhauled by a succession of designers including Normal Studio, students from Swiss university ÉCAL and French designer Pierre Charpin.

Photography is by Stéphane Aboudaram / We Are Content.