Bernar Venet represented by Waddington Custot
“Bernar Venet has been a close friend to the gallery for some time” says owner Stephane Custot. “He has a robust and ambitious approach to sculpture-making, frequently producing work on a monumental scale. His impressive and iconic work is a natural fit with our programme, and we are very happy to formalise the relationship with this formidable artist”.
Waddington Custot will feature Venet’s work in its online Art Basel Miami Beach 2020 presentation and is planning for the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery in February 2022, in London.
Venet is best known for his swooping, linear sculptures in steel. The artist rose to prominence through the avant-garde art scene in the mid 1960s as he developed a radical new approach, combining mathematics and scientific language, alongside artists such as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Lawrence Weiner.
Following a brief hiatus in the early 1970s, Venet’s return to artmaking saw his renewed interest in the research and use of scientific texts. Venet began to explore the notion of visually creating the simplest idea possible, which he came to realise as the line. Taking mathematical equations as the basis of these works, the ‘self-referential’ pieces enacted the exact proportions of their descriptive titles. The abstract, conceptual works not only drew attention to the material itself, but were also defined by their material descriptions: a process which Venet developed in his early black monochromatic tar paintings created on cardboard and canvas, and the seminal Pile of Coal (1963).
1979 was a significant year for Venet, having recently begun a series of wood reliefs – Arcs, Angles, and Straight Lines – he created the first of his Indeterminate Lines and was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. From this point, Venet’s practice explored the relationship between order, chance and chaos.
The Indeterminate Line works are made possible by Venet’s use of the cold rolling technique, which allows the artist to heat the material at certain points and bend it freehand. As Venet further developed this technique the size and scale of the works could be monumentally increased, enlarging the dramatic curves and arcs, which appear to defy gravity.
In 2019, Venet made headlines with his monumental work Arc Majeur, a 250-ton steel sculptural installation flanking a motorway in Lavaux-Sainte-Anne, Belgium, which broke records as the largest public sculpture in Europe. Venet’s monumental sculptures are installed internationally, with one of Venet’s tallest sculptures, reaching almost 27-metres in Auckland, New Zealand. 88.5° Arc x 8 is situated on Gibbs Farm, an open-air sculpture park containing the largest collection of monumental outdoor sculptures in New Zealand. Venet’s Nine Unequal Angles is currently installed at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in Penzance, dominating the skyline and reaching high above the treetops.