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Xavier Veilhan's first major U.S. museum presentation at the Phillips Collection this fall
People look at the sculpture called "The Bear"of the French artist Xavier Veilhan outside the Phillips Collection Gallery in Washington DC. The 8 foot (2m 45cm) sculpture "The Bear" is displayed outside the gallery as a part of an exhibition featuring 18 recent works by French artist Xavier Veilhan, including paintings, sculpture, and photo-based works. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV.

WASHINGTON, DC.- This fall, The Phillips Collection presents (IN)balance, an exhibition featuring 18 recent works by French artist Xavier Veilhan (b. 1963), including paintings, sculpture, and photo-based works. In 2009 Veilhan famously animated the gardens at Château de Versailles with a lacquered royal purple horse and carriage, and he similarly transforms the Phillips lawn at 21st and Q Streets with The Bear (2010), an angular, eight-foot-tall polyurethane beast painted Ferrari red. The Bear heralds the show’s arrival beginning Oct. 22, 2012, and (IN)balance is on view Nov. 3, 2012, through Feb. 10, 2013.

Fascinated with technological innovation, Veilhan creates works that reflect historical styles and subjects yet appear futuristic. Digitally rendered sculptures like Xavier (2006) and The Bear (2010) reference early 20th century avant-garde movements such as cubism and futurism, as well as traditions of bestiary, portraiture, and statuary, while incorporating new materials and processes. In his own words, art is a “visual device which we have to look through in order to understand our past, our present, and our future.”

In addition to The Bear on the lawn, Veilhan’s installation activates the first floor of the museum’s Sant building. En route from the entrance, the visitor passes beneath Mobile n˚2 (2011)—comprised of horizontal and vertical bars suspended from the ceiling at different heights—and enters two galleries filled with Veilhan’s work. The mechanized, more than thirty-foot-long and seesaw-shaped Le Balancier (2007) moves back and forth while two freestanding self-portraits pose nearby. Paintings from Veilhan’s Pendule-Drippings series, Cocarde reliefs, and photobased works from the Ghost Landscape series are also on view.

“Veilhan’s work probes the intersections of art and technology, history and experience, modernism and the art of today—all subjects that are vital to the Phillips,” says Director Dorothy Kosinski. “We are thrilled to introduce this important innovator to American audiences, in keeping with the museum’s commitment to contemporary art.”

The artist lives and works in Paris and most recently had solo exhibitions at Hatfield House in England and La Conservera in Spain. In August he debuted a group of sitespecific works for the Neutra VDL Research House in Los Angeles, the first in his Architectones project, to be installed in modernist landmarks worldwide. His work has also been exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva; Barbican Centre, London; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg; and Centre Pompidou and Louvre Museum, Paris. Veilhan has created public projects in France at Bordeaux, Lyon, and Tours. He directed the full-length feature Furtivo (2008), starring his friend and collaborator French musician Sébastien Tellier.

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