This year, France is represented at the Venice Biennale by Xavier Veilhan, one of the country’s most spotlighted artists. With Studio Venezia, the pavilion’s interior is transformed into an open yet immersive space, marked by a series of sculptural elements with pared-down and often oblique forms. Everything is clad in light-coloured wood. In various points of the space, one finds rare or traditional musical instruments, created for the occasion or dating back as far as the 1950s. Among constructivist and Bauhaus references and inspiration drawn from atypical architectures such as the Merzbau by Kurt Schwitters, the result is captivating and welcoming while conveying an impression of dynamism and instability. And, at the same time, it’s spectacular.
The Studio Venezia installation functions as a recording studio with excellent acoustics. On one side there’s the recording booth with synthesisers and other instruments. This is the most intimate place, where one feels the most distinct sensation of witnessing the creative process. Throughout the Biennale, the pavilion will host performances by musicians, sound engineers, programmers and producers from all over the world, invited by the artist himself and the pavilion’s two curators, Lionel Bovier and Christian Marclay. The latter also happens to be an artist with a sensibility for the acoustic dimension, having conceived performances, videos and sound collages. It promises to be a succession of variegated sound universes. The musicians involved originate from several countries and belong to a wide range of scenes: from radical experimentation to folklore, classical or electronic music, or more besides. Sounds and vibrations will continually animate the space, and Xavier Veilhan himself will dedicate the months of the Biennale to welcoming his guests in Venice.
Visitors, meanwhile, are introduced into the normally restricted space of the studio, where one can find oneself witnessing the process of artistic production.
In Studio Venezia, visual and audio aspects are combined with the dimension of time. Similarly, there is a coexistence of high-technology, the importance of individual expression and a sense of exchange and community.
Studio Venezia is a space to experience, in the vein of others that Veilhan has created dating back to 1998 (The Cave and The Forest). Both workshop and sculpture, it is a work of great aesthetic force that entirely fits into France’s long-explored realm of multidisciplinary experimentation and relations between the world of sight and sound.
The pavilion offers a precise response to a stimulus launched by the Biennale’s director Christine Macel, concerning the essential role played by the artist’s act of creation and the studio space in which the creation is performed or carried out. With Studio Venezia, Veilhan interprets art and music as common, collective and poetic situations in constant evolution, endowed with their own subversive energy. But Veilhan also intends to go beyond the space and time of this Biennale. Thanks to an app, the musical activity that unfolds in the pavilion can be followed everywhere. Furthermore, after the months in Venice, the installation is set to travel around the world. In particular, a repeat of the experience is already being planned for Lisbon and Buenos Aires.
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until 26 November 2017
Xavier Veilhan, Studio Venezia
Curators: Lionel Bovier, Christian Marclay