Getting to grips with GroupeDunes – La Friche, Marseille

Artists Madeleine Misrachi and Bernard Chiche of GroupeDunes met with Charlie Fox and I at their studio base at La Friche La Bel de Mai – a large complex of artists studios, performance spaces, a large restaurant and associated facilities for the Marseille arts community. Originally built and managed by artists 30 years ago, the whole area is being redeveloped, with new studios and a large contemporary art gallery being built.

Madeleine and Bernard gave richly of their time, detailing their installation practice, working with sound, light and interactive technologies. I found talking to them, hearing about the development of their ideas and their practice very engaging, as it resonates with issues I’m fascinated with myself;

  • Work that is particular to a place
  • Works that are subtle / discrete interventions into public space
  • Work plays with perception and the physical (somatic) experience of space and time

GroupesDunes have made work for the rooftop at La Friche La Bel de Mai; they described being interested in spaces where people can be alone, where audiences often interact with the work through technology – and in this case have collaborated with botanical researchers, exploring how many plant species would grow on it – seeing the roof-space as a place of exploration / a studio space.

Roof tops became a theme of the overall trip (see August blog) – and this roof has now been redeveloped for the arrival of the new studio spaces and art gallery.

Images 1-4: La Friche la Bel De Mai

5-6: Marseille


About waymarkingthesketchbook

Sarah Spanton is director of arts organisation Waymarking -
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