Bernar Venet, a conceptual artist
Bernar Venet is a conceptual artist who has been pushing the frontiers of art for the last fifty years.
Published on 15 June 2018
The hotels across the Oetker Collection have always been strong supporters of art and artists; both in their interior decoration as well as hosting exhibitions in partnership with a number of highly regarded galleries. This year is no exception with the ground breaking French artist Bernar Venet exhibiting a number of monumental pieces at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Château Saint- Martin & Spa.
After such a long and richly creative career, Bernar Venet continues to enjoy international acclaim. A recent recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award, last year he had three exhibitions happening simultaneously – including a prominent spot at Frieze Sculpture in London’s Regent’s Park.
Our exhibition of Venet’s monumental steel sculptures is in many ways a spiritual homecoming for the art. Both hotels are less than an hour’s drive from Le Muy, which houses his extraordinary private collection and plays host to the Venet Foundation’s annual summer exhibition.
We are delighted to share with you seven exceptional pieces of Venet’s work immersed in an environment for which they were originally conceived.
Bernar Venet (b. 1941, Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, France) is a conceptual artist who has been pushing the frontiers of art for the last fty years. In the 1960s, Venet’s use of everyday and industrial materials, and later of mathematical and empirical data, was completely visionary, and informed his sculptural work.
During his military service in France in his twenties, Venet experimented with art in his barracks, producing sound performances, paintings with tar, and relief works from cardboard. He travelled to New York in 1966 and made a permanent move there by the end of the year. In 1971, Venet broke o his artistic activities as part of a plan he had de ned years before, and devoted himself to theory and teaching, and was the subject of a retrospective exhibition in New York at only 30 years old.
Venet resumed his art-making practice in 1976 with a renewed concentration on the line as his fundamental subject, rst on canvas, then in relief form.
Focussing now on all variants of the line, Arcs, Angles and both Straight and Indeterminate Lines have come to de ne his aesthetic, with mathematical investigations of chance and chaos providing a conceptual grounding to how his sculptures are realised. From this point Venet navigates sculptural issues such as equilibrium, control and the relationship with the environment.
Venet created the rst of his seminal Indeterminate Lines by experimenting in a series of wood reliefs. He soon developed these formalist sculptures in the medium of steel, a material that allowed him to further experiment with three- dimensionality. Venet says that his sculptures are about ‘how the material resists. It is a test of strength—a battle between myself and the piece of metal’.
Venet’s sculptures are named after their mathematical compositions, referencing only the degree of the angle or curve that determines the work’s form and the number of elements in the composition, demonstrating the artist’s theoretical and formal investigations of order and disorder, and the determinate and indeterminate.
The dynamic steel sculptures in this exhibition are from Venet’s Arcs, Angles and Indeterminate Lines series, monumental works displaying the artist’s mastery of balance and form, and the navigation between positive and negative space. The magni cent grounds of Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Château Saint-Martin & Spa are the ideal setting for these striking sculptures. As a native of the south of France, Venet has created rusted forms that both contrast with and complement the vivid greens and blues of the Provençal landscape.
Created in 2014, the Venet Foundation aims to conserve its collection, and to ensure that Bernar Venet’s work lives on after him in an ideal setting. The Venet Foundation is the culmination of more than fty years of artistic creation and Bernar Venet’s encounters with an impressive roster of other major artists, who have become his friends, which has led to an extensive collection that is emblematic of minimal and conceptual art.
The Venet Foundation loans artwork to other cultural institutions around the world, ensuring exposure to a larger audience, and hosts annual exhibitions of works by other artists. In 2018, the 90th anniversary of the year of the artist’s birth, Yves Klein will honoured with an exhibition, Pigment pur (Pure Pigment).
Guided visits to the Foundation are available to our guests by prior reservation on Thursday afternoons and Fridays. With the kind agreement of Bernar Venet and his Studio team we are able to organise visits for our guests. The hotel concierge teams at both Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc and Château Saint-Martin & Spa will be happy to make the arrangements.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc concierge: +33 (0)4 92 93 2 36
Château Saint-Martin & Spa concierge: +33 (0)4 93 58 02 02