Xavier Veilhan Architectones, VDL Research House, Los Angeles

Événements, Septembre 2012
Photos © Joshua White / jwpictures.com — Luise Rellensmann, Danielle Albright, Guillaume Ziccarelli — Veilhan / ADAGP, Paris, 2013 & Ars, New York, 2013 Photo black and with Van der Leeuw Research House II (Los Angeles, California), 1966. Collection Julius Shulman photography archive — J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004. R.10) — J. Paul Getty Trust.

Visit Xavier Veilhan's website

The Neutra VDL Research House in Los Angeles is pleased to present Architectones, an installation by Xavier Veilhan.

Consisting of monochrome interventions, the exhibition features sculptures throughout the property, from the front garden through the ground floor and domestic quarters to the rooftop reflecting pool. Statues, models, and other objects dialogue with the Modernist structure: its glass facades, rooftops, water basins and fountains. Both abstract and figurative, the artworks loosely trace the decades of the last century by focusing on the personal and professional history of architect Richard Neutra, his times, and Veilhan and his family’s interaction with the house.

With a title that pays homage to the “architectons” of Kasimir Malevich — three-dimensional models that extended the Suprematist philosophy into architecture — Architectones continues Veilhan’s practice of creating site-specific installations in important architectural settings. Following Jeff Koons, Veilhan was the second contemporary artist selected to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles in France. Veilhan Versailles, 2009, utilized interiors and especially the gardens of the famed palace in a multipartite exhibition that included eleven large-scaled statues of visionary architects. Currently, Xavier Veilhan has an exhibition on the grounds of Hatfield House outside of London, and an exhibition at the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. in November 2012.

First in a series of installations in Modernist landmarks, the VDL project will be followed by site-specific installations in some of Los Angeles’ most iconic houses. The next intervention will take place in Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House #21 (1958). Future Architectones include the roof of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse in Marseille (1952), set for the spring of 2013; St Bernadette du Banlay Church (1966) by Claude Parent and Paul Virilio in Nevers, France; and the Melnikov House (1929) in Moscow.

Each chapter of Architectones will be a unique response to its setting. The VDL property was the residence and studio of Richard J. Neutra, a young Austrian émigré and a founder and seminal figure in the Los Angeles school of modern architecture. This was Neutra’s own home and office, but also a laboratory for his architectural visions. The VDL is a “machine for living” and a structure that communicates with nature, with interiors and exteriors equally important.

In Los Angeles, the artist addresses the topic of modernity through objects such as a metal flag, a mobile, and models of a boat and cars. The installation also features a soundtrack composed by Nicolas Godin of the band Air. Says Veilhan, “This house is not about a façade but about a function, not about size or luxury but about the quality of light and its connection to the outdoors. The interior of the building has been thought through like a car, a plane, or even more like the cabin of a boat: it is the perfect equation between people, function and environment. I want to celebrate and expand the concept of modernity that this represents.”

In keeping with Richard Neutra’s forward-looking ways, a rotating series of Architectones images is blazoned across the city on Clear Channel Outdoor Los Angeles digital display billboards. Broadcast at more than 80 sites, these displays yield the kind of exposure seldom accorded cultural initiatives.

Echoing Richard Neutra’s domestic life, Xavier Veilhan will live at the VDL House with his family as he installs the exhibition. The VDL House was initially built in 1932, with the Garden House added in 1939. Following a fire in the main house in 1963, Neutra rebuilt the structure in collaboration with his son, Dion, and lived there until his death in 1970. A pilgrimage site for worldwide fans of architecture, the compound is owned by the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation and is under the stewardship of the College of Environmental Design. For the Architectones installation, the entry pool and roof reflecting pool will be refilled. Following the exhibition, Cal Poly Pomona will commence a major roof restoration with the help of architectural firm Marmol Radziner. The roof restoration project is made possible by a grant from the Friends of Heritage Preservation, Friends of VDL, Marmol Radziner, and other individual donors. In addition, Xavier Veilhan will donate a sculpture from the exhibition to support the restoration.

Veilhan’s Architectones project in Los Angeles is organized by local architect, curator and educator, Francois Perrin. He has completed several contemporary residences and curated the exhibition “Yves Klein: Air Architecture” at the MAK Center for Art & Architecture at the Schindler House and other venues. Notes Perrin, “This project participates in the long tradition of artists interacting with architecture and writes another chapter in this ongoing dialogue. It reactivates an important building of Los Angeles architectural history through the eyes of a contemporary artist.”

Xavier Veilhan, a Paris-based artist, is represented by Galerie Perrotin (Paris and Hong Kong) Andréhn-Schiptjenko (Stockholm) and 313 Art Project (Seoul). He has exhibited extensively throughout Europe, the U.S. and Asia. In addition to sculpture and public art, his polymathic work includes painting, digital photography, film and performance art. He has collaborated with musician Sebastien Tellier, the band Air, renowned designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and artist Daniel Buren.

Architectones is presented in Los Angeles with the support of Clear Channel Outdoor Los Angeles and Commonwealth Projects.