NAME: XAVIER VALENTINEΔΔ
ZODIAC : LIBRA / SCORPIO
LOCATION: PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, USA
OCCUPATION: ARTIST, MUSICIAN
SARAH: Describe your personal style in 5 words, please.
XAVIER: Braid, perforate, length, reflect, chiffon.
SARAH: Your work is both performative and sculptural, and you have a show up now. If you could be the curator of an exhibition with your dream artists (your friends and people you have never met), who would you include? What kind of work interests you most right now?
XAVIER: I'm not much of a curator, I've attempted (it), and had a one-day apartment show with a friend of mine in September that was a lot of fun, but that really proved for me it is maybe too stressful to be responsible for other people's work and how it is going to be represented. However, there are a good handful of people that I would love to collaborate with. I'll just list them in no particular order. 1. Will Reeves, who is an amazing sculptor and did some of the most beautiful metalwork I have ever seen. 2. Matt Underwood, who's installation and video work is lighthearted on the surface, but ends up really seeming like a Dennis Cooper book. 3. Gottfried Helnwein, though there is no way I can produce work as amazing as his just yet. 4. Stellarc because the marriage of performance and technology and the body is 100 percent fascinating and I would love to help develop programs and technologies that act as parasites with him. The sort of work that interests me right now is firmly squared in interdisciplinary site-specific installation. I aim to create environments, spaces, and ambiences that do not or can not exist otherwise, so I like to see things like this as well.
SARAH: Tell us about your current installation.
XAVIER: Currently, I have a show up called ATLAS at the Granoff Centre at Brown University. The gallery that represents me, RK PROJECTS, was approached a little over a year ago to propose a project that would utilize the main gallery space in the building (which is super beautiful). At the time, I had been reading Roland Barthe's lecture on neutrality, which was really having a lot of impact on me, so it ended up being the start point for a year's worth of discussions and experiments in various media to explore those concepts of the neuter and precipice and what that might look like. The collaboration and production that resulted was a large wall mural of a gradient from black to white (vertically oriented), four plaster pillars dip-dyed by hand to be a gradient horizontally, a digital print on silk chiffon, and a 42 minute long collection of videos. It was probably the hardest and most gargantuan project I've ever been a part of, and so, the most rewarding, also.
SARAH: So I know you have a fondness for vintage clothes, whats your strategy when navigating the decades?
XAVIER: I'm not so sure I have a strategy, I am lucky enough to be slender and fairly tall, so I can wear most things so long as they are long enough. I have a particular fondess for women's clothes from the 40's, the cut of these garments are very striking. Especially underpinnings. What I usually end up wearing, in terms of decades: 70s platform boots (except I just got a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shermans with the mirror covered heel that I am in love with, and a pair of Miistas that I similarly fawn over), a pair of baggy black silk trousers that are cropped and tapered, a cropped black chiffon shirt (I have a pretty large collection), and a beautiful Calvin Klein collection lambskin jacket that feels like butter. When it gets cold out, I have a very favourite black cable knit 1980s United Colors of Benetton sweater that I live in. I also have a beautiful mustard floor length wool overcoat with very exaggerated shoulders from Amsterdam that is pretty stunning. So 70s and 80s, I live in that.
SARAH: You are musician/ artist; how do music and fashion connect for you? or music and art?
XAVIER: Music and fashion have always had a very close relationship, as the two dictate each other. It's been a long time now since fashion followed function instead of aesthetics. For me, when I perform live, the costume is just as important as the music, it's a wasted opportunity otherwise, and the audience can feel it. Music and art are basically inseperable as well, for the same reasons.
SARAH: You often use a symbol to represent yourself. What's its origin?
XAVIER: When I first started truly working with installations, I primarily used lasers refracted and aimed to create shapes and spaces within spaces and shapes. These pieces were about genderless creation of new locales, and my music reflected this similar idea. The symbol came from a diagram I had drawn of a beam of light hitting a mirror installed on a ceiling. It created an arc of light under which smoke lazily drifted up. This seemed fitting for all of my artist endeavors and thus it was born.
SARAH: When I first met you, I pretty much died at your beautiful ombre hair! How is that going?
XAVIER: Thanks! My hair is no longer ombre, though soon after I met you, I died it a nice grey-pink that has since washed out. Now it is just blonde and long and wavy (and seriously damaged).
SARAH: Lastly, what is your ultimate fashion no-no?
XAVIER: I have a few: no tall boots on short people, velcro sandals with crew socks, cap-sleeve solid jerseys, and i do not like stilletos on women, only on men. Oh, but everyone should wear heels, all the time.