Bernar Venet: Versatile Forms

Presented by Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, Bernar Venet: Arcs, showcases the dynamic work of the French conceptual artist through six large-scale drawings alongside two new sculptures. By merging these artistic mediums, the relationship between form and material is apparent, whilst the boundaries between them become blurred. As American art critic Carter Ratcliff remarks in an essay on Venet (which is available from the gallery as a pamphlet): “It is easy to make – and to leave unquestioned – the assumption that the drawn arcs represent the sculptural ones. Yet we could just as reasonably say that it is the other way around.” The dialogue that arises from the work is not simple – it is subjective, tantalising and provocative.

The curved line sculptures extend from a solid base at variations of 86.5 degrees, and are crafted with rolled steel and black patina, directly mirroring the appearance of Venet’s drawn arcs. The creations are elegant in their curvature yet this is offset by the industrial, dark material from which they are constructed, and the harsh points at which they abruptly end. Combining statuaries and line-drawings enhances the 3D nature of the sketches which become remarkably life-like. The paintings are finished with a sheen which is reflected in the figures placed in the centre of the gallery floor.

Venet has been presented with a number of accolades including the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award in 2016, and his art has been displayed in multiple galleries and museums including the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Several of his pieces have become iconic, most notably Tas de charbon (Pile of Coal) and Gibbs Farm, which is currently located in New Zealand. Venet has been influenced by various movements, most predominantly Minimalism, yet mathematics and logic also play a substantial role in the development of the colossal sculptures.

Bernar Venet: Arcs, 9-22 April, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

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1. Bernar Venet, Arcs. Installation view. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery.