Bernar Venet

NOV 19 2011 – 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.

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