Since the set up of Xavier Veilhan's The Monster in the center of Tours in 2004, the statue has been subject to various cultural appropriation by the locals. This book aims to document both the development of the project as part of the New Patrons program as well as the life of the statue within the city.
The Monster is an artwork by Xavier Veilhan, close on 4 meters / 13 feet in height, produced in and for the public place, in the Place du Grand Marché in Tours, in 2004. Situated in the heart of the city of Tours, the Place du Grand Marché is one of the five squares around which the neighbourhood that residents call “old Tours” (le Vieux Tours) is organized. Formerly cobbled and boasting a central fountain , this oblong space is wedged between two major centres of activity of Tours life, the Place des halles or Market Square, and the Place Plumereau. At the root of this art commission we find a group of shopkeepers and local residents who were keen that an artist's intervention might be included in the re-organization of this square. With a desire to underscore, not to say re-invent the identity of this space, where residence and commercial activities co-exist in a harmonious way, they called on the Fondation de France's Nouveaux Commanditaires / New Patrons program. Based on the proposition made by Eternal Network, this commission has been entrusted to Xavier Veilhan. The Monster has now been part and parcel of the life of the Place du Grand Marché in Tours for ten years. People like it, or they don't like it, but it is much talked about, people write about it, people take photos of it, and the square is even sometimes called “La Place du Monstre”. Ten years is also the period over which Eternal Network has seen fit to conserve the various documents, prospectuses, plans, videos and so on which use the image of The Monster. This whole body of documents represents the increased value of the work, which is not, strictly speaking, the increased commercial value of a work of art, but one which stems from the uses that people have invented around it.
Through his portraits and landscapes, his bestiary and his architectures, Xavier Veilhan (born 1963 in Lyon, lives and works in Paris) pursues a constantly regenerated reflection on the status of representation and the materialization of an idea, using the same space for sculpture, painting and photography. A manufacturer of the visible, he invents works, images, and objects that hesitate between the familiar and the strange. Interested in modernity and using references ranging from classical statuary to Futurism and Op art, Veilhan has been compared to artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons. For Jean-Pierre Criqui he is "a perfect example of a Pop artist for the 21st century, with an accessible formal vocabulary and referents, while at the same time cultivating a certain air of detachment and reserve in his use of affects, thereby distancing himself from the empathy aroused by direct borrowings from the sphere of commodities and the media."