BERNAR VENET

Bernar Venet
Nov 19 – Feb 18 2012
von Bartha, Basel

Installation view, 2011 von Bartha, Basel
Installation view, 2011 von Bartha, Basel
Installation view, 2011 von Bartha, Basel
Installation view, 2011 von Bartha, Basel

Bernar Venet (born 1941 in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, France) gained world-wide fame though his works in pub­lic spaces — his posi­tion as one of the most impor­tant modern-day sculp­tors was under­lined by the solo show in the Palace of Ver­sailles this year. Venet’s opus is more diverse than his unmis­tak­able steel sculp­tures may sug­gest. The exhi­bi­tion in the von Bartha Garage pro­vides an insight into the diver­sity of Venet’s cre­ation and shows pic­tures and sculp­tures from dif­fer­ent decades. Some of the works orig­i­nate from the artist’s pri­vate col­lec­tion and will be shown for the first time. The series “GRIB” was pro­duced this year. Venet’s opus is char­ac­ter­ized by a per­pet­ual and con­stantly evolv­ing inter­ac­tion between math­e­mat­i­cal pre­ci­sion and deter­mi­na­tion on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the unfore­seen and play­ful, or: the pro­duc­tive acci­dent. This is par­tic­u­larly notice­able in the pro­gres­sion from the early draw­ings, in which Venet includes math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­lae rep­re­sent­ing high aes­thet­ics and ratio­nal logic, to the three-dimensional chaos-structures in the “Inde­ter­mi­nate Lines” series, which appear to can­cel out the math­e­mat­i­cal pre­dictabil­ity with incal­cu­la­ble, organic inter­twine­ment and dis­tor­tion. The most recent “GRIB” pic­tures made out of cast and moulded iron, which how­ever remains two-dimensional and there­fore lively, con­tinue this dia­logue. Other dis­ci­plines and fields related to the fine arts have always been cen­tral to Venet’s cre­ations. Thus, per­for­mance, music, pho­tog­ra­phy and lit­er­a­ture were early ref­er­ence points for his artis­tic devel­op­ment. In recent years, he has revis­ited these ref­er­ences, espe­cially in his paint­ing; for exam­ple in the work “Gold Trip­tych with Two Sat­u­ra­tions” (2009), wherein the sculp­tural forms, the (pic­to­r­ial) dis­course on the shaped can­vases, math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­lae and text pas­sages are recom­bined in a new way.