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Inside the Neutra VDL House and Its Xavier Veilhan Installation

Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

French artist Xavier Veilhan has gently messed with some sacred LA architecture--his installation Architectones fills the Neutra VDL Research House on the Silver Lake Reservoir with sculptures meant to play off both the house's modern architecture and the life of its architect Richard Neutra. (He also filled Pierre Koenig's Case Study House #21 with smoke over the weekend--more on that soon.) Architectones, curated and fabricated under the supervision of architect Francois Perrin, includes mostly all-black sculptures (a boat; a racecar) and silhouettes (a giant version of Neutra's head, which you may have already seen from the street; a set of people standing in the roof's reflecting pool), along with a reflective sphere mobile in the living room and a mirrored piece at the top of the stairs. A black flag sticking up from the roof is "a reference to the anarchistic L.A. punk band, because Veilhan felt Neutra’s disciplined nature belied his iconoclastic and rebellious origins," according to Art Talk. There's one more change, too--the VDL's rooftop and entry pool are difficult to maintain and are usually left empty, but they've been refilled for the length of the show. Veilhan has also installed himself and his family in the house while he works on the project, lucky them.

The VDL was built for Neutra's own family back in 1932, but was damaged by fire in 1963. Richard and his son Dion rebuilt the house and Richard lived there until he died in 1970. A garden house was built across the interior courtyard in 1939. Veilhan says in a press release "The interior of the building has been thought through like a car, a plane, or even more like the cabin of a boat: it is the perfect equation between people, function and environment. I want to celebrate and expand the concept of modernity that this represents." (Veilhan, incidentally, is well-known for a similar (if grander and way less modern) installation at Versailles made in 2009.)

Architectones will be open through September 16 and there are a few special events throughout the run--they're listed here, along with all the information on visiting. Meanwhile, please enjoy these very lovely photos of both the art and the house by Elizabeth Daniels.
· ARCHITECTONES [Neutra VDL]