Xavier Veilhan
Architectones, Barcelona Pavilion

Fundació Mies van der Rohe Barcelona

June 30, 2014

Xavier Veilhan
Architectones, Barcelona Pavilion

June 27–August 31, 2014

Mies van der Rohe Pavilion
Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 7
08038 Barcelona
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–8pm


Since 2012 Xavier Veilhan has developed the project Architectones, a number of exhibitions in some of the most iconic buildings of modern architecture in the last century. After three projects in Los Angeles (VDL House by Richard Neutra, CSH #21 by Pierre Koenig and Sheats-Goldstein Residence by John Lautner), two exhibitions in France (Unité d’habitation – MAMO by Le Corbusier and the Church Sainte Bernadette du Banlay by Claude Parent and Paul Virilio) and a performance in Moscow (Melnikov House by Konstantin Melnikov), the French artist has selected the German pavilion designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 and located in Barcelona for the seventh and final exhibition of the series.

“Where would I ultimately like to exhibit my work? Whilst searching for an answer to this question, I began to consider a series of atypical exhibitions in architectural landmarks of the last hundred years. This reflects the celebration of contemporary architects in my solo exhibition in Versailles (2009). From now on I would like to interact with their work rather than with them as an individual, by creating situations specific to each of their constructions. The locations were chosen from my personal pantheon.”
–Xavier Veilhan, 2012

The exhibition curated by London-based architect Gonzalo Herrero Delicado seeks to break with the stylistic principles that defined the architecture of the pavilion, marked by its own rationalist style of the modern movement. The importance of the building lies in the ideal of modernity that expresses the disposition of these materials: the perfect symmetry, the open spaces, and the precision of distances or the minimalism. Veilhan’s project bursts from the outside to the inside of the pavilion, abruptly tearing the rationalism of the building and making the visitor reflect on the principles that defined its design.

Furthermore the relevance in the selection of materials in the pavilion built in glass, steel and four different kinds of marble, is also analysed in Architectones, Barcelona Pavilion: Georg Kolbe‘s sculpture Dawn, taken by Xavier Veilhan as the starring character of the exhibition, is reinterpreted in different materials and scales, putting back the visitor on a reflective role to think about what he is seeing and what is its relation with the building.

“The project Architectones by Xavier Veilhan is a gamble for radically breaking with the principles of the modern movement that defined the architecture of the pavilion, putting the visitors in an active role in front of the building, making them think about what happens there through an exhibition that reconsiders the use of materials and forms of its architecture and offering the ability to interact with it from a new point of view.”
–Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, 2014

“The installation at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion is the seventh and last exhibition of the series Architectones. The pavilion is questioning the idea of template, the pattern of the open plan, the idea of decor and function within a representation of a nation. My project brings the possibility to discover a new point of view on the pavilion from the decks built over the pools. The perspective of the deck’s line is the only pre-existing diagonal in this rigorously right-angled architecture. I put an emphasis on this perceptible perspective by adding materiality to it. Dawn by Kolbe is the only figurative presence in the pavilion: I chose to focus on it by making different contemporary versions of the sculpture, in various sizes and materials. The shape evolution of the human nude is significant: its representation is constantly changing even though it should be permanent. The line of growing sculptures also appears as a metaphor of the journey of the architecture in time: the pavilion is an ultimate milestone of modernity and my contribution, this show, introduces as well the idea of ‘seriality.’”
–Xavier Veilhan, 2014

Veilhan’s project joins a long list of exhibitions developed by different artists and architects in the pavilion including Antoni Muntadas, Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, Jeff Wall, Jérôme Schlomoff, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Jens Hoffmann, Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) or Andrés Jaque among others. The project has received support from the Galerie Perrotin and counts with the collaboration of the Barcelona-based firm MAIO.

For further information, please visit www.architectones.info.

Press contacts
Fundació Mies van der Rohe
Mercedes Soler-Lluró, Gemma Pascual / ICE
gpascual [​at​] icempresarial.com / +34 93 419 32 88