Xavier Veilhan (born 1963 in Lyon, France; lives and works in Paris, France).
Mixed media installation.
“The site-specific exhibition follows installments at two icons of French concrete culture, Le Corbusier’s Unité d’ Habitation and the L’église Sainte-Bernadette du Banlay by Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, as well as Konstantin Melnikov’s seminal but neglected Melnikov House in Moscow. Previous installations took place in the elegant surroundings of the very best of American Modernism, from John Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein House in Los Angeles to the VDL House by Richard Neutra and the seminal lines of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No 21.”
[Veillhan’s] Barcelona show is something of an intervention, with a diagonal walkway slashing across the famously rectangular floor plan to set up a dialogue with the solitary existing sculpture in the Pavilion, Georg Kolbe’s ‘Alba (Dawn)’, which stands on a small plinth in the smaller of the building’s two reflecting pools. Veilhan has reinterpreted Kolbe’s figure in four figures of descending scale, using different materials in a homage to Mies’ simple, rich palette of glass, steel, and marble. The pools have been partly built over, offering visitors new perspectives on spaces made iconic through photography, reproduction, and imitation.
“From the smallest maquette, placed on a runway in the famous pool, Veilhan’s new nudes rise in size and change material as they move towards Kolbe’s original. The Pavilion’s geometry and symmetry are skewed, and the large panes of glass set up new reflections between old and new. In this way, the artist is deliberately upending the building’s talismanic power by disrupting the qualities that made it famous.
“The Barcelona Pavilion has a long history of being used as a canvas for installations and artworks, making it a fitting place for the final Architectone. As Veilhan himself says, this is a work about new perspectives on the figure in space, how we interpret the human nude and how we experience this ‘ultimate milestone of modernity’.”
—Jonathan Bell, “Xavier Veillhan’s multi-venue Architectones reaches its climax in Mies van der Rohe’s Barcolna Paviolion,” Wallpaper*, August 11, 2014.