Xavier Veilhan's sixth solo exhibition in New York, an installation titled Mobile, was presented by Sandra Gering Gallery at its former Chelsea location.
In conjunction with his 2004 solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Xavier Veilhan was asked to create an installation for the Centre's Forum space — a large, open area filled with the commotion of people, neon, and signage. Presented with such a busy environment, Veilhan faced the challenge of creating an installation that would neither dominate nor disappear. He achieved this by exploiting the space above the activity, creating an enormous mobile of shiny black spheres of varying sizes. Formally, this was the perfect solution: the spheres occupied significant volume, but because they were shifting and not static, the empty space between the spheres became an active part of the configuration, allowing the sense of volume to be contradicted by a feeling of lightness and transparency.
A maquette of the mobile was installed in Veilhan's studio. While it was there, Veilhan began to see it as a "thought bubble" floating over the heads of the numerous collaborators who were always at the studio. The mobile came to represent for Veilhan a physical manifestation of the constantly shifting ideas and emotions present in any room of people. Mobiles share with the life below a capricious nature. Although the design of a successful mobile requires precision, there are so many variables involved, that even when using a computer it is impossible to predict exactly how it will behave once installed.
Veilhan has created mobiles for several spaces now, each time dealing with the opportunities and challenges of the new location. The spheres in the mobile at Sandra Gering Gallery have a completely matte black finish. From outside the storefront windows of the gallery, the shapes appears flat and decorative — an arrangement of two-dimensional dots rather than three-dimensional spheres. Once inside, though, the viewer has to negotiate the distinctly physical presence of the forms shifting above. Likewise, the mobile navigates the space around the viewer.
The symbolism of the mobile is one Veilhan had addressed prior to his exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. A small-scale mobile was featured in his film Keep the Brown, an element of Veilhan's 2003 installation at Sandra Gering Gallery.