Bernar-Venet

Bernar Venet (1941)



Biography

Born April 20, 1941, Bernar Venet studied for one year at Villa Thiole after having failed the entrance examination for the Arts Décoratifs school in Nice. In 1959, he became the theatre set designer for the Opera of his town. His work was influenced by the symbolism of the Swiss painter Paul Klee. In 1961, he performed his military service, and realised his first monochromes in tar.
After his military service and ten months in Algeria, he moved to Nice in 1963. In his first works, he used tar, also cultivating a fascination for asphalt and coal, which he photographed prolifically. It is during this time that he realised his first sculpture Le Tas de charbon. Very shortly thereafter, still in 1963, he exhibited with the Nouveau Realism group, which formed in 1960. His works were shown alongside those of César and Jacques Villeglé. He created his Relief cartons which he presented at the Salon Comparaisons at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
In 1966, he moved to New York, where he became passionate about technical drawing and science, which would inspire his work during this period tremendously. In 1968, he participated in Prospect 1968 in Dusseldorf, with the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers. The institutions became more and more interested in his work. Still passionate about science, he realised a performance with researchers at Columbia.
In 1972, Bernar Venet returned to France. He moved to Paris, where he began to write essays on his art. Two years later, he began to teach at the Sorbonne and to give conferences throughout the world. Jean-Pierre Mirouze’s film Œuvre terminée, œuvre interminable is dedicated to Venet’s artistic process. The 1970s were a rich period for the artist, who moved back to New York, participated in both Documenta VI and the Venice Biennale. His art continued to evolve and he began to realise sculptures in the form of arcs.  
In 1984, he exhibited his first Lignes indéterminées at Galerie Templon and worked on large sculptures which he installed in public spaces. He received multiple prizes including the United States Design Award in 1988, and the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris at the hands of Jacques Chirac the following year.
While exhibiting the Lignes indéterminées in the 1990s, the artist also exhibited works of steel furniture. He also worked on musical compositions to satisfy his interest in music and dance. His work travelled the world, from New York, to Paris, to Brussels, to Hong Kong. In the mid-1990s, he worked on Lignes Droites and then on a series of Arcs. In 2000, Bernar Venet exhibited mural paintings (Équations majeures) in South America and in France. In the 2000s, the artist was featured in an immense number of exhibitions and retrospectives.
In 2006, he opened a space in Le Muy which served to exhibit his monumental sculptures. Ten years later, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center (ISC).

(Pauline Le Gall)

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Exhibitions/Bibliography

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Press review

https://www.venetfoundation.org/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanneshurvell/2016/10/25/escape-to-terre-blanche-resort-provence/#3f1d3604744e
http://theartnewspaper.com/news/conceptual-artist-bernar-venet-gets-a-bigger-stage-in-the-uk-with-three-shows-this-summer/
http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/bernar-venet-versatile-forms/
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/12/arts/international/when-your-home-is-a-museum-bernar-venet-s-labor-of-love.html
https://sg.ambafrance.org/Bernar-Venet-First-Solo-Exhibition
https://www.smu.edu.sg/news/2017/05/25/art-and-nature-embellish-refreshed-smu-campus-green
http://www.theglassmagazine.com/a-meeting-of-minds/
http://texanfrenchalliance.org/bernar-venet-monumental-sculpture/
http://artdaily.com/news/47877/A-Monumental-Sculpture-by-French-Artist-Bernar-Venet-at-the-Versailles-Palace-#.WU0zhShGufI

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