Critics’ Picks

Le Requin (The Shark), 2008, polished stainless steel, steel, and epoxy, 6' 6 3/4“ x 16' 5” x 7'2 5/8".

Le Requin (The Shark), 2008, polished stainless steel, steel, and epoxy, 6' 6 3/4“ x 16' 5” x 7'2 5/8".


Xavier Veilhan

Perrotin | Paris
76 rue de Turenne
March 15–April 26, 2008

Xavier Veilhan’s cinematographic urge is instantly apparent on slipping into the artist’s latest solo show, installed in the gallery’s main space and a recent extension on a narrow dead-end street just behind it. Borrowing the title of the exhibition, “Furtivo,” from a boat that features in the artist’s film of the same name, Veilhan extends the slick aesthetic of his moving images to a group of new and recent sculptures and photographs. Dominating the newer space, the glistening chrome sculpture Le Requin (The Shark), 2008, modeled on the figure of a shark, is really more suggestive of a cigarette boat or an icebreaker. Veilhan’s signature angular surfaces are positioned precisely so that even though the chrome is polished to a perfect mirror, as the viewer moves around the shark, her image is most often not reflected. In its presence, viewers are invisible. Meanwhile, across the street, three photographs and Vibration Amish, 2008, a small-scale sculpture of a horse-drawn carriage rendered as if seen through air wavering with heat, skim past irony to become sharply iconic images. A series of more theatrical compositions, titled “Lithophanie,” 2008, light up a darkened room with rows of candles that illuminate resin screens to reveal vaporous vistas—stills from Veilhan’s film. Literally setting the stage, these works provide a meta-landscape for the mysterious appearance of Veilhan’s protagonists. The artist depicts the hooded silhouettes of Xavier and Marey (both 2008) in ink prints mounted on aluminum, finished with steel, plastic, and epoxy paint. They are the enduringly enigmatic characters at the heart of the artist’s surreptitious narrative.