Nov 19 – Feb 18 2012
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.