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Meijer Gardens curates exhibition featuring international sculptor Bernar Venet
Bernar Venet. Three Indeterminate Lines, 2003. Rolled steel, 104.3 x 102.4 x 173.2 inches. Photo courtesy of Archives Bernar Venet, New York.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park presents a special, year-long exhibition showcasing revolutionary sculptor, Bernar Venet. Demonstrating his iconic work in steel, five of Venet’s large-scale sculptures will be installed outdoors and will open to the public on October 30th. The length and inclusion of this additional sculpture exhibition is unique to Meijer Gardens and will remain on display until October 2013.

“Meijer Gardens is honored to have been selected to host this special exhibition of works by the contemporary French master, Bernar Venet,” said Joseph Becherer, Vice President and Chief Curator of Horticulture and Sculpture. ”His works, celebrated for their bold linearity and powerful sense of grace and composition, are celebrated around the globe.”

For more than five decades, improvisation has helped shape Venet’s art forms. Beginning with photography and mediums such as coal and tar, Venet began using steel after becoming interested in logic and mathematics. When creating his monumental steel sculptures, Venet didn’t use preparatory drawings, he used intuition to shape each curve of steel to create visually captivating forms.

Venet’s sculptures have been shown all over the world and are included in many of the most prestigious public and private collections in Europe, America and Asia, including Two Indeterminate Lines, which is a part of Meijer Gardens’ permanent collection in the Sculpture Park.

“The steel sculptures of Bernar Venet grace public plazas and beautiful gardens around the world – including Meijer Gardens,” said David Hooker, President & CEO. “We are very grateful to the Bernar Venet Foundation and the Galerie Scheffel for the opportunity to present five extraordinary pieces for the next year.”

Each steel sculpture, ranging in size from eight to 13 feet in height, will be installed on the front lawn, adjacent to the Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial and Bulb Garden.

Coinciding with the exhibition, the public has an opportunity to meet and hear Venet discuss his expansive career and renowned works on October 30th at 7 p.m. at the C. Schoenknecht and W. Paul Sculpture Lecture, as part of The Master Lecture Series.

Born in France in 1941, Bernar Venet had a religious upbringing and aspired to be a missionary. At a young age, he was introduced to painting and drawing by a local artist. When he joined the French Army in 1961, he was still struggling to find a style for his art. He was exploring with tar and coal as mediums, and later with photography. His first sculpture, Pile of Coal, was seen as his most famous masterpiece, which many art historians consider revolutionary to the history of sculpture. From there, his interest in logic and mathematics inspired him to create works around these concepts. Subsequently, exhibitions were curated surrounding his sculpture in Belgium, Japan, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand as well as America. Venet has received numerous awards for his work, including the name of Chevalier de La Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. Currently, he divides his time between his studio in New York and his foundation in France.

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