Bernar Venet : Scuplture and Works on Paper
Jun 3 – Jul 29, 2006
Robischon Gallery is pleased to present its first solo exhibition by internationally-recognized artist Bernar Venet. In Colorado, Bernar Venet's monumental sculpture entitled Indeterminate Line is permanently installed as a focal point for the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. In this exhibition, the sculptures featured are from Venet's "Arc" series and range from one-of-a-kind or editioned, medium-scale work in steel with black patina to a large, rolled and rusted steel sculpture. Also on view, are new and recent oilstick drawings, lithographs and etchings from the "Indeterminate Line" series, silkscreens from the "Arc" series and mathematical theory prints from the brilliantly-hued "Formulae Yellow" series.
Since the 1960s, the explorations of this provocative and innovative artist have encompassed a variety of mediums from sculptural, coal pile constructions and math-based paintings to choreography and audio work composed of experimental sounds such as cacophonous street noise. French-born Venet has continually challenged the conventions and assumptions of contemporary art even when he stopped creating art all together for a time in 1971 because he felt the critical analysis of his work lacked insight. The artist's own writing, which began during this hiatus, led to a lifetime of analytical treatises expounding on the deeply theoretical aspects of his artwork.
French-born Venet has worked extensively with mathematical formulations, such as arcs, angles and lines. This theoretical basis results in artwork that is comprised of various elements which are not compositional, but instead form strategic relationships. The mathematically-based work is not only defined by the actual representation of the measurements; it also incorporates the specific measurements in degrees inscribed onto the artwork itself. Aspects of the semiotic principle of "monosemy," which suggests that there is only one, definitive interpretation of an artwork, permeate much of his oeuvre.
In other series, Venet embraces the possibilities of randomness. His graceful, ascending coil sculpture Indeterminate Line, sited at the Colorado Convention Center was not overtly mathematically determined, yet still possesses the rhythmic harmonies of his formulated proportions. The process Venet used to finish these cold-rolled, steel sculptures yields a rusted finish that visually resembles soft velvet or flocking. Prominent art critic Carter Ratcliff notes that Venet "does not illustrate principles so much as push them to extremes where they must break and change shape."
Bernar Venet's work has been exhibited in prestigious museums, galleries and public installations in Tokyo, Paris, Bogota, Caracas, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, New York and Chicago, among others. In addition to the permanent work at the Colorado Convention Center, a number of Venet's monumental sculptures were temporarily installed at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and near Union Station in Lower Downtown. He has participated in the Sao Paulo Biennale, Documenta VI, and exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou. Numerous monographs by prominent art critics including Donald Kuspit's "Bernar Venet: The Sublime in Mathematics" and Carter Ratcliff's "Bernar VENET" have examined the wide-ranging extent of the artist's work. In 2005, Venet was named Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur which is one of France's highest accolades.