Jacques Vieille

Born in 1948 in Baden Baden (DE)
Lives and works in Paris (FR)


Trestles, ply wood, thick black pastel
Dimensions variables
Year of Purchase: 1991

At the outset, in 1970, Jacques Vieille produced ‘environments’ in nature combining different processes of growth and organization. Akin in the early days to Land Art, his line of thinking would lead him to question, over and over again, the links between sculpture and architecture, and broaden the areas of action and inclusion of the sculpted work in space, and compare it to its monumental dimension.
‘In my works, I ask basic questions to do with the origins, history and memory of architecture, and it is still sculpture.’1
Construction presents two huge houses of cards made up of assembled and repeated parts which call upon infinite balance in order to rise upward: trestles to support and raise, sheets of plywood to lie there and cover. With a keen eye on the modular and architectural development of materials, Jacques Vieille derives his thinking about the structure of the city and the use of materials from Vitruvius (1st century BC)—thinking which, when added to modern sensibility, reveals, through an effect of resonance and contrast, the hidden spatial quality of the volume accommodating these strange ‘platforms’.
By way of the visible balance of the structure, a kind of framework of rational thought, these at once imposing and aerial forms release an elementary rhythm, and a serial music. Focusing on using rudimentary by-products of natural things (wooden trestles, plywood), and questioning the architectural ground rules of the classics, the Gothic style, and the Bauhaus, Vieille draws interiors, in the manner of a builder, places in space, and associates the artist’s graphic signature with the idea of the construct. In the depths of the velvety blackness of the heavy pastel covering the sheets of plywood, the artist inscribes the identity of the indeterminate, which he compares with the simple volumes of structure and architecture. He works with the help of drafts and maquettes which he adapts to sites in order to verify the compatibility of the element with the mass being worked, and culminate in maximum resonance, exchange and response at the heart of the perceptible occupation of space.

Maïté Vissault

1 Jacques Vieille, Ateliers 90-93, Besançon : Centre d’art mobile, 1994.