The Korea Herald


Classic nude gets modern reworking

Xavier Veilhan holds first exhibition in Seoul

By Lee Woo-young

Published : April 9, 2014 - 20:33

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French sculptor Xavier Veilhan is holding his first exhibition in Korea, presenting life-size and miniature human figures along with architecture-inspired mobiles. His works have been exhibited in such prominent places as Versailles in 2009 and the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2004.

His sculptures are displayed on the streets of New York, Lyon, Sweden and Seoul. One of his blue geometric human sculptures is on permanent display near the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

His horse sculpture is part of the sculpture garden at the Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea.
French artist Xavier Veilhan poses with his works at 313 Art Project in Seoul. (313 Art Project) French artist Xavier Veilhan poses with his works at 313 Art Project in Seoul. (313 Art Project)

The exhibition, which begins Thursday, showcases 12 new works, including nude sculptures and large mobiles that are inspired by architectural elements.

Six new human figures, developed from his nude sculptures exhibited at Versailles five years ago, boast perfect proportions and shapes. His carvings seem like an extension of ancient Greek or Roman sculptors’ pursuit of an ideal human form.

“The naked body should be the permanent and timeless image of a human being, as it does not bear marks of a specific area. Actually the nude is linked in a mysterious way to a special epoch because of our changing perception of the body and of the way we are showing the body,” wrote the artist in the introduction to the exhibition.

The nude sculptures express both the sensuality and strength of the female body.

The life-size sculpture “Annina” is bronze and polished with polyurethane varnish to create the softness of the female body. The sturdy plinth that takes up two-thirds of the sculpture “Cassadre” serves as a firm basis of a sensual female torso. 
“Annina” by Xavier Veilhan (313 Art Project) “Annina” by Xavier Veilhan (313 Art Project)

The artist defines the nude sculptures as a mix of classic and contemporary art. Their distinct style is realized by using diverse materials, including wood and bronze and aluminum processed through founding, machine milling and molding.

“It’s a combination of classic and contemporary. The subject of the nude has been in the history of art so long, but the ways they are executed are contemporary,” he said.

In the early stage of sculpting, Veilhan utilizes computer programming and mechanical methods to create 3-D renderings of human forms.

His works are also based on the shapes of his friends and acquaintances.

“I don’t hire professional models. I look for good-looking people around me who will be the subject of my work,” he said.

The exhibition “Bodies” will run from April 10-May 24 at 313 Art Project. For more information, call (02) 3446-3137, or visit

By Lee Woo-young (