Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Back to Reviews 97


david ebony's top ten

xavier veilhan at sandra gering

Nov. 20, 1997 - Jan. 3, 1998  

Untitled (Man with Tract)

Untitled (Room Service)
   It is ironic that in this oddly captivating show, Xavier Veilhan, a French artist who lives in Paris, uses ultra-high-tech photographic methods, including digital computer imaging, to create works that evoke a feeling of nostalgia. The eight large (up to approximately 8 x 10 ft.) photographs on view look like fuzzy images from turn-of-the-century ethnographic books. Each of the pictures features a tableau in which it seems that a strange ritual is taking place. Most of the activities are simple ceremonies performed by bearded, bare-chested men, wearing skirt-like white paper cones, which the artist designed. These enigmatic figures and bizarre outfits suggest ceremonial garb that one might find depicted on ancient friezes from Mesopotamia.

Besides ancient Babylonian or Sumerian culture, the images conjure up notions of all sorts of religious sects or secret societies with strict codes of laws and dress. An image of a man peering into a telescope while another looks on, hints at an astrological cult. Other works evoke images of modern day Islamic holy men. Ultimately, Veilhan questions notions of photographic representation and meaning. He brilliantly conveys a world that is not of the past nor of the present. In spite of the work's misty light and nostalgic air, the images are perhaps most accurately described as futuristic.

NEXT . . .