Unveiling of La Crocodile

Work by Xavier Veilhan and Olivier Mosset, winner of the artistic intervention competition linked to PLATEFORME 10

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La Crocodile, a painted aluminium sculpture inspired by the mythical eponymous locomotive, is the winning project of the „ Art and Architecture ” artistic intervention competition linked to PLATEFORME 10, held in 2017. This monumental work was born from the original association of artists Xavier Veilhan and Olivier Mosset.

The unveiling of La Crocodile took place on Tuesday October 1st 2019, in the presence of State Councillors Cesla Amarelle and Pascal Broulis, as well as artists Xavier Veilhan and Olivier Mosset.

«The original Crocodile is a Swiss and only Swiss locomotive, closely linked to the collective imagination of the country. The work La Crocodile is the creation of an image by similarity with an animal, which is already in the popular appropriation of the object, everyone in Switzerland knows more or less what the name „Crocodile” stands for. The project was carried out extremely quickly. We immediately agreed on the image and concept. Then the object was refined and reworked for a better „visual efficiency”, a bit like a design or automotive object. The final generic form has become almost dreamlike, as if drawn or restored.

Of course, we have kept the overall proportions and space occupation of the volume, but some key elements have been modified: the lowering of the vehicle roof to give it a more aggressive look, or a chamfer that circles the object to give it both smoothness and strengh. Then, we simplified the shape of the train and its wheels by unifying them to give them an even more serial and minimalist appearance.

The ideal was to generate a process of appropriation of this work from the history of rail transport. One of the aims of the intervention is to give a certain autonomy to the work, so that it exists in itself while having a close local reference. The site is already an old train station and, in the best of cases, the object becomes inseparable from it. Yet it is anchored in a paradox, because it represents both a dynamic, a power of traction - which is in the idea positive and modern - but at the same time a replica of an object that is like a rock, geographical and geological. He thus plays with the ambiguity of the almost ghostly representation and the image of an object from the past, but it is also a real, assertive, massive and impressive object.

Concerning colour, there is an aesthetic dimension in that La Crocodile must coexist with a specific landscape, architecture and environment. As is often the case in our work, colour can be complementary to the floor or wall of the building. But in fact we started from the original colour, first orange then green. The green chosen underlines a bit the military dimension: a colour that evokes a form of solidity, powerful and calm.»

Olivier Mosset, Xavier Veilhan

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