The 10 Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Marseille

Thousands of visitors will be flooding to beautiful Marseille as the city was named the European Capital of Culture for 2013. With a plethora of events to be held in France’s second largest city, we look at the city's top ten contemporary art galleries and highlight some of the standout exhibitions they will hold in 2013.

Atelier de Visu

Atelier de Visu

Atelier de Visu was founded in 1998 and is dedicated to the art of photography. The gallery focuses on displaying exceptional work by well-known artists and also the work of talented emerging practitioners. Through its program, the gallery hopes to support young talent and to promote artists both nationally and internationally. The Gallery hosts a range of events including exhibitions, debates and workshops.

Anouk Deville/ Stéphane Degros: 21 March - 27 April 2013

This exhibition will feature the work of two talented yet strikingly different photographers, Anouk Deville and Stéphane Degros. The artists’ works explore contrasting aesthetics: Degros’ features textured and folded surfaces, while Deville’s explores emotive fragments of the human body. The union of these two practitioners will be both a visual and intellectual treat.

Backside Gallery

Backside Gallery

Backside Gallery is dedicated to the urban art form of street art. However, not all of the artworks inside this hidden gallery are spray paintings on a wall. Tucked away in its unique location, Backside Gallery is an immersive space that presents avant-garde and ambitious works which have been made through artistic collaboration. The exhibitions highlight the work of talented French and international artists.

VNANIMVS: January – February 2013

This exhibition featured works by Sozyone and Dems333. These expressive pieces drew inspiration from pop culture, international identity and fragmented personalities.

Galerie Anna-Tschopp

Galerie Anna-Tschopp

Named after the grandmother of one of gallery’s directors, Galerie Anna-Tschopp was opened in 2005. Since its inauguration, the gallery has held two policies at its core. The first is to unite both nationally and internationally distinguished artists with up-and-coming practitioners with the hope to continually support the future of art in Marseille. The second is linked to the idea that less is more. With strict criteria on quality, Galerie Anna-Tschopp only displays work that they deem to be exceptional.

Images de Femmes: 19 February – 2 March

This exhibition will explore images of females in comic books and illustrations. The show will include various artists’ work, including Philippe Bertrand, Mikael Bourgoin and Florence Cestac.

Galerie Detaille

Galerie Detaille

The Detaille family’s history in the field of photography dates back to 1897, when Nadar Detaille bought a studio in Marseille. The passion for art has flowed through the family tree, and now Helen and Gerard Detaille run this gallery on rue Marius Jauffret. Proud of its history, the gallery continues to display exceptional photos that explore the world realistically, poetically and artistically. Historic and contemporary, famous and emerging, the Galerie Detaille exhibits exciting pieces of all kinds.

Dreams of Silence: 12 January – 23 March 2013

This eerie exposition displays the work of Matthias Olmeta. These artworks experiment with historic techniques to scrutinise the contemporary world. The works explore many themes including family portraits and spirituality.

Galerie du Pharos

Galerie du Pharos

The Galerie du Pharos presents many exceptional artworks, ranging from paintings and sculptures to photographs and video installations. Somewhat eclectic, these artworks by a number of exemplary artists are representative in style and their unification is what makes Galerie du Pharos so unique. The gallery is located near the old port of Marseille.

Phil Stein: February 2013

Phil Stein’s work consists of photographic fragments that combine together to reveal scenes of busy city streets. Exploring the notions of downloading and musical sampling, Stein’s artwork has been described as a physical representation of String Theory’s predicted dimensions.

Galerie Gourvennec Ogor

Galerie Gourvennec Ogor

Founded by Didier Gourvennec Ogor in 2011, Galerie Gourvennec Ogor is located in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Marseille in an old factory. Dedicated to international contemporary artists, it displays a wide range of art mediums and uses its compelling space with its five metre high ceilings to put on cutting edge exhibitions.

Over the Rainbows: 10 July – August 10 2013

This collective exhibition will display several artists’ work. The pieces will all explore the theme of Europride’s ‘rainbow in the sky’. Including the works of Alix Delmas, Pascal Fancony, Julien Friedler and more, the money raised from the exhibition will go towards AIDS prevention organisations.

Galerie Sordini

Galerie Sordini

Situated near the old port in Marseille, Galerie Sordini presents an exciting range of contemporary, figurative and abstract artworks. The works displayed are of many different mediums, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, lithographs and more. Owned by John and Francette Sordini, the gallery aims to expose current painters and artists, so that artwork and artist can be celebrated together in the present, and not in retrospect.

Reliefs: 19 Nov – 21 Dec.

Labelled ‘reliefs’, Joseph Alessandri’s works stand in the middle of sculpture, painting and collage. Largely made up of scrap pieces of wood and metal, Alessandri transforms these disregarded objects into provoking works of art.

La Friche

La Friche

Built in a former tobacco factory, La Friche is a cultural venue and gallery that stimulates the imagination. Over the last two decades, the 45,000 square metres that make up La Friche have been dedicated to contemporary and experimental art. The space has seen the birth of hundreds of exciting exhibitions and projects, with more than 150,000 people visiting annually. Perhaps more of a creative village than a standard gallery, La Friche’s unique space has seen a vast range of projects by both established and emerging artists.

ART-O-RAMA Internation Art Exhibition: August 30 – September 7 2013

Bringing exceptional artworks from all over the world to Marseille, this event is a must for all art enthusiasts. The exhibition will be multi-dimensional with several of La Friche’s spaces being used for different artist’s work. There will also be concerts and performances organised around the exhibitions.

La GAD (Galerie Arnaud Deschin)

La GAD

Previously an artist himself, Arnaud Deschin describes his gallery as his new artwork. The gallery was opened in 2010 in Deschin’s apartment, which he proudly states is a beautiful fusion of art and life. The gallery is committed to the discovery of young artists while also having a strong affiliation with artists with international reputations. La GAD aims to contribute to the rhythms, invention, dynamics and exploration of art through its radiant personality and commitment to exemplary work of all mediums.

Tableau historique: 19 May – 28 June 2013

This exhibition will display the work of Jérôme Cavalière, Camila Oliveira Fairclough, Cécile Meynier, Olivier Mosset, Frédéric Sanchez and Hugo Schuwer Boss. Using the story of Robert Rauschenberg’s request to erase some of Willem de Kooning’s drawing as inspiration, this exhibition will explore radical concepts that are born through the union of artists.

Seize Galerie

Seize Galerie

Located in the heart of Notre-Dame-du-Mont, Seize Galerie (Gallery Sixteen) is focused on the contemporary and the futuristic. Dubbing itself an art gallery and corner shop for amateurs and professionals alike, Seize Galerie is committed to the exploration of the modern art form of graphic design. The gallery displays works of many themes and modes of expressions, including painting, graphics, drawing, graffiti, video and installation.

CROS2: 27 March – 1 May 2013

This will be Vincent Landry’s second exhibition at Seize Galerie. Investigating hip hop and urban culture, Landry (AKA Cros 2) uses screen printing to add emotive and sometimes disturbing depth to the faces and scenes he depicts.