Bernar Venet

60 Years Of Sculptures, Paintings and Performances

verlag der buchhandlung walter könig
336 pages
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Bernar Venet's concept of art can be described as an attitude that goes far beyond the formal and spatial. His claim is based on the unrestrained will not to simply accept the world as it is, but to give it a perspective he has created. It seems as if he never left his Sturm-und-Drang phase and as if he varied the attitude of Goethe's Prometheus: Bernar Venet does not shape a human being, but a new world that suits him. Landscapes and places suddenly take on a new dimension, allowing the viewer to see the horizon of the landscape differently and to experience, even feel, the space in which the lines and arches of steel are installed, energetically charged in a new way.

In Venet's works, nature, ratio and emotion combine in symbiosis. His sculptures usually weigh several tons and cannot be moved without machine power. Nevertheless, they seem light, like beings brought to life. A fascination sets in, which is difficult to concretize at first, since it is first of all optical and atmospheric. The play with the mathematically and geometrically calculated, systematic structure of the works on the one hand, and the seemingly random self-design of the material on the other, creates an arc of tension. Bernar Venet's consistent approach can only be explained by his natural obsession with the artistic design of his surroundings, no matter where he is, unwaveringly straightforward, calculating the effect, convinced of the emotionality and of the intention to symbiotically link his existence with his design aspirations.

The exhibition in Berlin coherently stages the artist's career, the various phases of his work and his extensive activity as a sculptor, painter, draftsman, performer and – ultimately always – as a conceptual artist who, as he confesses in the conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, had outside art as a model, for example mathematics. Accident (Unfall), as Venet calls his 1996 performance, which will be performed again at the opening in Berlin, is an important example of how his artistic approach works. Single-handedly, he brings down a seemingly random accumulation of massive bars of steel lined up to form a wall installation. The force of the event draws traces on the wall of the exhibition space, the rods remain scattered or even stand still. The result of the 'accident' is clearly visible. In addition, Venet will perform another highlight - a new work from 2021 entitled Domino Effondrement (Domino Collapse). It represents an evolution of Accidents and holds three different states: the setting up of a series of arches, a performance in which they are overturned, and the result, a visible trace of entropy. System and chance are compressed to the highest degree in these works. Material, place and time, the traces of our existence, feelings ranging from fear and uncertainty to joy and confidence collide here. And there remains the optimistic attitude of the artist, who does not want to reinvent the world, but to change the way we look at it.

Publishing Year: 2022
Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König 
Editor(s): Bernar Venet
Binding: Softcover
Pages: 336
Dimensions: 28 x 24 cm
Weight: 1.6 kg
Language: English/German

ISBN: 978 2 37372 145 4