Somewhere between reality and fiction lies Xavier Veilhan’s work. The visionary French artist has just unveiled his latest series at Espace Louis Vuitton.
Veilhan’s 2009 exhibition at Versailles drew huge acclaim, affirming his reputation as one of contemporary art’s leading lights. Now exhibiting at the Louis Vuitton art space in Tokyo, ‘Free Fall’ builds upon Veilhan’s established themes to create four stunning site-specific artworks considering space, proportion and the concept of weightlessness. Throughout his work, Veilhan has experimented with weight, using durable materials but somehow making them look like paper – toys you could pick up with your hand. As Vuitton continues to break ground marrying fashion with art, i-D Online spoke with the artist to find out exactly where the common ground lies.
What experience and mood were you hoping to create with this exhibition? When I first visited the space I had a feeling of weightlessness, as if the space was floating. It is a feeling I have in general about art: I feel like exhibitions are between fiction and reality, so my goal is to achieve a space that makes this connection possible.
Is there a past that you are referencing and how does it work with the modernity of the Espace Louis Vuitton? My work is not about history but is linked to the idea of time and continuity. There is no direct reference to either Louis Vuitton or Tokyo, but there are some relations with suprematism, as in Statue de Tokyo. I simply use form from the past to build something that belongs to the present.
You create works specifically for the space. How did the space, and Tokyo, influence the piece? Well, there is always a kind of blurry feeling that I love when I travel, which makes the encounter with reality softer. This is more intense in Japan and that is the reason I love Tokyo so much. But I’m the same person wherever I am; therefore, it’s more the perception of the work that is affected by the place than its origins.
How are the histories of Louis Vuitton and Xavier Veilhan intertwined? We didn’t have any links before starting this project but they have a real desire to develop a certain kind of relationship with living artists. There is a field between a commercial approach (the art galleries) and the historical concerns of the museums. With their help, I can develop a new type of exhibition.
Free Fall runs until 8th May at the Espace Louis Vuitton, Tokyo.