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In Xavier Roux’s studio

Xavier Roux is a French artist living in NYC, where he welcomed LUXE Magazine to a preview showing of his next exhibition, an in situ installation at the artist’s studio. The exhibition opens on November 18 2017.

What did you name this panoramic mural installation that covers the wall of your studio?

I titled this work Swimming Pool in tribute to Matisse’s La Piscine. I wanted to create the impression of immersion that you get when you dive into a pool. The colours are similar to the tones of light reflected in the blue water of the pool.

The effect is luminous and radiates trough the space. It’s like being surrounded by multiple windows, as if your drawings opened the walls like stained glass.

I have an intimate relationship with architecture. It’s a mnemonic and emotional relationship more than an aesthetic one. Certain spaces inspire me, comfort me. I project my interior space on the existing structure.That’s probably why I like spaces that create a sense of emptiness. I like cathedrals and swimming pools for that reason. As a matter of fact, I created a video (Agnus Dei) inspired by this theme over a decade ago.


The installation Swimming Pool in Xavier roux’s studio, courtesy of Malcom Brown

We feel transformed by the experience. Rothko said “a painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience”

It’s interesting that you should quote Rothko. For the Rothko Chapel in Texas, he first created a mock-up of the chapel space in his studio before having an identical space built in Houston for his site-specific paintings. The choice of space for this exhibition led us to use my studio in order to preserve the experience of immersion in the artwork. So it’s a process very similar to Rothko’s.More generally, I consider the creative act as an experience. I do lots of participatory art projects precisely to enrich the public’s experience and allow it to view the work differently.

Your studio is a creative lab where all sorts of experiments take place. You repurpose machines created to erase all traces (Roombas), which you transform into machines to make traces!

I consider creative work to be very similar to scientific research. I’m very interested in fundamental research, especially in particle physics and neuroscience. The similarity in approaches comes down to the very nature of research: the researcher, like the artist, doesn’t know what he’s looking for and is even less aware of what he’ll find. We start from a hypothesis, an idea, and we try to validate it and to see where it leads us. It’s a playful job that requires great openness of spirit and lots of imagination.


It’s also a job that requires a good sense of humour to be able to accept the mistakes that are the breeding ground of great discoveries and great creations. Discovery and creation are in fact one and the same thing.


Text: Barbara Stehle

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