Xavier Veilhan Will Represent France at the 2017 Venice Biennal

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
May 2, 2016

Artist Xavier Veilhan has been selected to represent France at the 57th Venice Biennale with his project Musical Merzbau. The exhibition will be curated by artist Christian Marclay and Lionel Bovier, director of MAMCO (Geneva).

His Venice project, “Merzbau Musical,” takes its name from Kurt Schwitters’s legendary sculpture, the Merzbau, which encompassed the Dada artist’s entire house, in Hanover, Germany. Schwitters started working on the Merzbau, a forerunner of installation art, in 1923; it was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. Coinciding with the centennial of the Dada movement, Veilhan’s proposal includes a recording studio, which will be open to the public, complete with an array of musical instruments, some invented for the project.

Veilhan is no stranger to music-and-art crossover, having worked with musicians in the past, including the French band Air; Schwitters himself composed an epic poem in the form of a sonata.

His large-scale pieces have been installed in public spaces across the world, most recently in Miami’s Design District, where he created a work dedicated to Le Corbusier. and the Palace of Versailles, in 2009.

After graduating from the École nationale supérieure des Arts décoratifs in Paris, Xavier Veilhan continues his formation in Berlin at the Hochschule der Künste, in the atelier of artist Georg Baselitz. He returns to Paris to finish his studies in 1989 at the Institut des hautes Etudes en Arts plastiques.

His work is multi-faceted, encompassing sculpture, installation, painting and photography, as well as hybrids of all of these. He is also engaged in performance work and filmmaking. He plays with the notions of the generic, of the industrially produced object and of universal representation, creating objects at once ambivalent and stark. Concerned with the scenography of a dedicated presentation, Veilhan addresses issues of perception as well as the physical and temporal relationships created within the context of the exhibition format. His work is to be found in the most important public and private collections worldwide. He has also made several permanent public works in numerous locations across the world, as well as creating temporary site-specific interventions within Architectones, a project that has received critical acclaim since 2012.

Xavier Veilhan is represented by Andréhn-Schiptjenko (Stockholm), Galerie Perrotin (Paris, New York, Hong Kong), Galeria Nara Roesler (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro) and 313 Art Project (Seoul).

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