Xavier Veilhan
Xavier Veilhan via the Studio Venezia (Venice, 2017) © Giacomo Cosua © Veilhan / ADAGP, 2018
Visual arts

Xavier Veilhan

An artist's sensibility is more like that of a camera, with the ability to capture information that is quite fragile, that others will pass by. You have to stand back, rather than being on the offensive and wanting to crush reality.

Xavier Veilhan is one of the most well-known and internationally recognised French artists. A visual artist, he has gradually expanded his art to include performance by working with musicians to create unique sensory experiences.

Updated on 29/05/2019

2 min

Educated between Paris and Berlin, where he had Georg Baselitz as a teacher, Xavier Veilhan of Lyon is an artist whose works and exhibitions are major events. In 2009, he was the second contemporary artist, after Jeff Koons, to be exhibited at the Château de Versailles, where he offered a reflection on the symbolic nature of the place – linked to power – and the objects represented, the movements of the artist and the visitors.

The creation of immersive experiences through works in situ, adapted to their environment, is a common thread in his career, as is working with artists from other disciplines, including musicians, such as Daft Punk and Giorgio Moroder, who he portrayed in sculptures, or Air and Sébastien Tellier, with whom he has performed.

Monumental, Xavier Veilhan’s works are easily identifiable. His faceted, brightly-coloured sculptures, abstract or representing great men or animals, adorn the streets of Bordeaux, Lyon and even London and Seoul.

To make them, the artist transforms 3D scans into assemblies of folded and cut steel sheets that echo the places which will host them. Xavier Veilhan’s work is full of many other materials and mediums: Lights, mirrors, wood, photography, painting, music.

For Studio Venezia (French Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2017), the artist immerses visitors in a recording studio where music and volumes merge to spark new sensory emotions.

Xavier Veilhan’s career was international beginning very early on. The artist was educated in Berlin in the mid-1980s and exhibited from Italy to Russia beginning in the 1990's. In 1995, he was a resident at Villa Kujoyama, where he worked in collaboration with Japanese artistic, academic and cultural circles.

After numerous exhibitions throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, Xavier Veilhan installed his first in situ works abroad in 2013, in New York and Shanghai. Over almost 30 years, he has established himself as one of France's leading international artists, even to the point of representing France at the Venice Biennale in 2017.

  • 1963


    Xavier Veilhan is born in Lyon.

  • 1995


    He is a resident at Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto.

  • 2006


    He produces a concert-performance with Sébastien Tellier at MAC VAL (Ivry-sur-Seine).

  • 2007


    Xavier Veilhan makes the album cover for Pocket Symphony, for the musical group Air. They produce a performance together at the Pompidou Centre.

  • 2009


    He takes over the courts and gardens of the Palace of Versailles.

  • 2017


    Xavier Veilhan creates Studio Venezia for the French Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale.

The Institut français and the artist

Xavier Veilhan represented France at the Venice International Art Biennale in 2017.


The French Pavilion at the Venice international art and architecture Biennales is put on by the Institut français.


In 1995, Xavier Veilhan was selected to spend time at the Villa Kujoyama, a residency for artists in Japan supported by the Institut français.


Learn more about the Villa Kujoyama.

L'institut français, LAB