Xavier Veilhan's work is inextricably linked to an investigation of exhibition formats and of the relationship between object, body and architecture. Ever since his first solo show at the Jennifer Flay Gallery in 1991, he has designed an exhibition apparatus that affords an overview of his works, while at the same time giving a specific focus to each sculpture. The blurring of boundaries between artwork and exhibition layout is a means of highlighting, first and foremost, the need to produce vibes conducive to the emergence of aesthetic emotions. The viewer's place is at the core of these conversations between works and venues, regardless of whether he is surveying the whole scene or settling into contemplative mode. Xavier Veilhan takes hold of the exhibition conditions and plays with its codes and structures, at once spatial, temporal and ideological. In 2003 Le Mur de verre [Glass Wall] brought out the full visual power of architecture while also offering the viewer the opportunity to see the other side of the works on display, diverting his gaze by revealing the material conditions underlying the artistic initiative. The preoccupation with the 43 building of an illusion is also evident in his performances and concerts, which turn architecture into stage sets and stage sets into situations. The importance of lighting, music and sculpture-sets harks back to avant-gardist utopias, and is sustained by a longstanding dialogue with scenographer Alexis Bertrand, who is talking with Xavier Veilhan here about their collaborative projects.
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."