Till November 12, 2011

“Orchestra” rings out under the direction of the artist Xavier Veilhan as a polyphony of objects, renewing the perception of space in the Galerie Perrotin in Paris. The event marks a turning point through works that, for the most part, have never been seen before. At the same time, it initiates an introspective turn in the artist’s modus operandi. The new shapes displayed are not a negation of previous works, but rather inscribed in their continuity. “Mobile n°4” and “Stabiles” lend themselves readily to the visual field opened by Calder, which Xavier Veilhan exploits in a contemporary manner time and again. He also returns to painting by presenting old-fashioned images rendered traditionally; trees and birds that at first glance contrast sharply with the technical skill of certain works like “Turbine” and even contradict the autonomy of production of “Pendulum Dripping”. Xavier Veilhan thus evokes his interest for technique and its evolution in accordance with art history.

“Orchestra” is, however, a paradoxical synthesis, because even though the works are situated in a conceptual or thematic continuity, they also mark a visual and formal turning point in the artist’s approach. “Marine” for example, is not faceted in the way the “Architects” were. This more plausible sculpture clarifies the status of the imprint of the real that sculpture maintains in Xavier Veilhan’s method. The space is encompassed by exhibition techniques setting up instances of direct confrontation between the spectator and the figures represented. “The Monument” sets up a truly suprematist architectural space – another development in the work of Xavier Veilhan – and is thus made practicable to visitors.
“Orchestra” is accordingly a work in itself that invites meandering and contemplation. The public becomes the actor of the exhibition by going through “Les Rayons” for example, a work inspired by Fred Sandback and Jesús-Rafael Soto that can be penetrated. “Orchestra” depicts a new space between reality and fiction in which a monument emerges, an installation shines forth or a turbine powers up as elements that tend to disrupt reality. This composition brilliantly reaches its climax with the hypnotic gaze of a gorilla, the choice of which is justified by the artist who says, “there is a natural propensity to project human characteristics onto animals, which is an utter aberration by the way, but it’s a wonderful aberration”. The animal’s piercing gaze invites contemplation and reflection on this symphony of objects and sounds the end of “Orchestra” with a musical title, “Gorilla, Gorilla, Gorilla”.
- Thomas Fort

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Image Credits
(1) View of the exhibition: Xavier VEILHAN - "Orchestra" photo : Florian Kleinefenn ©Veilhan/Adagp, Paris, 2011 Courtesy of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris

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