Nicolas Lobo Reimagines Le Corbusier’s Modulor Man

The late Swiss architect Le Corbusier is the unlikely inspiration for Miami-based artist Nicolas Lobo’s current exhibition at Gallery Diet

  • Installation view  of “A Modulor Broth” at Gallery Diet, Miami, 2015. Courtesy Gallery Diet and the artist. 

    Installation view  of “A Modulor Broth” at Gallery Diet, Miami, 2015. Courtesy Gallery Diet and the artist. 

Titled “A Modulor Broth,” the show centers around Lobo’s denunciation of the “Modulor Man” method, Le Corbusier’s anthropometric system of proportions that he developed as a way to bridge the metric and imperial system for architectural standardization. “I decided that what was important were the bones of the man; those were the true dimensions of the system. What I did was mentally boil those bones to extract utility and meaning from them,” Lobo told Artsy. “I’m not such a fan of Le Corbusier’s ideas on how humans should live. In my opinion, the Modulor Man is dead. With this show, I wanted to make soup from his carcass.” A visual critique of the icon’s Modernist ideology, “A Modulor Broth” builds upon Lobo’s ongoing exploration of the body and the space it occupies in the post-internet era.

Lobo’s show is sophisticated in execution and minimal in presentation. Each piece hanging from the gallery walls is six feet tall—the height of Le Corbusier’s Modulor Man. At a distance, these wall-mounted rectangles look almost like abstract paintings, but upon closer inspection one finds a sculptural composition of military-grade materials like Kevlar, Bio-Foam, and PIG HazMat absorbent cloth. “The show is organized as a sequence of moments in a continually changing material process. The first base material is carbon fiber and later I use Bio-medical foam blocks, Aluminum, and urethane rubber. One thing they all have in common is their use in prosthesis manufacturing,” explains Lobo of his purposefully technical materials. “What I’m doing here is taking raw material from a more or less closed industrial cycle destined for the human body and re-forming it for consumption in a different shape and context.”

Reminiscent of a futuristic bas-relief, Lobo’s work locates itself within a present that is deeply nostalgic, and in a city that is historically preoccupied with the body as a commodity. “Miami is a place where nothing goes without saying, a city obsessed with itself, devoted to self absorption,” says the Los Angeles-born transplant. “A place to get in touch with one’s own body and the industries that cater to it—none of the things I do could be done anywhere else.”


—Kat Herriman

A Modulor Broth” is on view at Gallery Diet, Miami, Nov. 6–25, 2015.

Follow Gallery Diet on Artsy