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Waddington Custot announces representation of Bernar Venet
Photo taken on May 15, 1994 shows the art installation named Indeterminate Lines series created by French conceptual artist Bernar Venet on the Champ de Mars exhibition in Paris. Pierre BOUSSEL / AFP.

LONDON.- Waddington Custot announced its representation of conceptual artist Bernar Venet. “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.

Bernar Venet (b.1941, Château-Arnoux, France), is a conceptual artist best known for his curved sculptures in steel which appear to defy gravity with their mathematical precision and swooping forms.

Venet was fascinated with art from an early age, influenced by his mother and a keen interest in books. Whilst serving an obligatory twenty-two months in military service, Venet continued making work, developing his black monochromatic tar paintings and Pile of Coal (1963), widely recognised as the first sculpture without a specific shape and regarded as one of his most famous works.

In 1966, Venet established himself in New York where over the course of the next four decades he explored painting, poetry, film and performance, though he was particularly attracted to pure science as a subject for art.

Venet’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe, the United States, South America and Asia both in solo museum shows, as well as in major art events such as the Kassel Documenta in 1977, and the Biennales of Paris, Venice and São Paulo. To date, Venet is the most internationally exhibited French artist with 30 public sculpture exhibitions and monumental works permanently installed in cities including Auckland, Austin, Berlin, Bonn, Denver, Geneva, Lyon, Neu-Ulm, Nice, Paris, Seoul, Shenzhen, and Toulouse.

He is the recipient of many awards including the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris and Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest decoration. In February 2016, the International Sculpture Center endowed Venet the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award for his exemplary contributions to the field of sculpture and in 2020 he was admitted to the Royal Society of Sculptors.

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