About the artist:
Born on April 20 1941 at Chateau-Arnoux-Saint-Auban in the Alps of Haunte-Provence. His father, Jean-Marie Venet, a schoolteacher and chemist, dies at the age of 40, leaving his widow Adeline Gilly in charge of their four sons, of which Bernar is the youngest. 1947-57 School as Chateau-Arnoux-Saint-Auban. As a boy, Bernar Venet suffers from asthma, and is forced to spend long spells at spas and an aerium at Saint-Raphael. With the encouragement of a local artist, he is drawing and painting extensively by the time he is ten. At age 11, Bernar is invited to exhibit in the Salon de Peinture Pechiney on Paris. 1958 Works as a stage designer for the Nice City Opera. Period of highly stylized paintings described by himself as "symbolic". 1961 In February, he joins the army, and serves for 22 months. Initially he is assigned to the army reception center in Tarascon. There an attic is put at his disposal, which he converts into a studio. Initially Venet's paintings art gestural, and executed with his feet. Quickly they develop into black monochromes made of tar. In some scenarios, he works a surface without leaving trace of his action.The blank surface nevertheless became a work. These he called " fetichist works" 1963 returns to Nice; establishes studio in the old quarter; on rue Pairoliere. Further development of the tar paintings and detailed photographs of gravel and coal piles. Other experimental photographic works. His first sculpture, Coal Paile with no specific dimensions. THe work is characterized by extremely restrained means. 1964 Venet participates in the Salon Comparisons at the Museum of Modern Art, Paris. He Exhibits alongside the New Realist and Pop Artists, despite the intentionally divergent nature of his cardboard reliefs. 1966 His first trip to New York lasts two Months. Views the collection of Jean and Howard Lipman at an exhibition of minimalist artwork at the whitney Museum. Venet in immediately struck by the formal restraint of works by Judd, Flavin, Le Witt, etc. Returns to Nice Invited to participate in the "Impact 1" exhibition at the Ceret Museum, France; sends a blueprint for a tube. Become aware of the objective aspect of blueprints, and their semantic characteristics. Set to work extensively on diagrams. thus creating his first mono-semiotic works. Creates the project for a ballet to be dance on a vertical plane. In December Venet decides to permanently settle in New York. Initially lives in Arman's Studio, 84 Walker Street, Formerly Tinguely's studio. 1967 Resides at the Chelsea Hotel; his conceptual work develops along logical lines. meets Minimalist artists through the Dawn Gallery. Frequents the mathematics & physics as Columbia University and befriends two researchers, jack Ullman and martin Krieger. He produces the "non visual" works on magnetic tape. His focus is on content, not the visual characteristics of artworks. Set up a four year program, intending to stop all artistic production with it's completion. Visits Marcel Duchamp, Remembers being greatly impressed by Ad Reinhardt's numerous black paintings when he meets the artist in his studio. 1968 Settles in to a loft in SoHo New York. Venet collaborates with scientists from Columbia University, to stage a performance at the Judson Church Theatre in SoHo, New York. Work first exhibited in the USA & Europe. Two conceptual exhibitions at the Wide White Space Gallery, along with Beuys and Broodthaters, at the Dusseldorf Kunsthalle. Works are bought by the Krefeld Museum, who offer to stage his first museum exhibition. The Museum of Modern Art, new York, aquires a Venet piece. Meets Daniel Templon, who becomes his dealer in paris at his gallery on Rue Bonaparte. Participates in the exhibition Conception Conzeption in Leverkusen, Germany. Moves to a loft on Broadway, in SoHo. 1969-70 Frequently travels & lectures throughout Europe. The United States, and Japan 1971 Stops his artistic activities. Retrospectives at the Krefeld Museum, Germany, and New York Cultural Center, New York. Publication of a Catalogue Raisonne of the conceptual works in conjunction with the retrospective in New York. 1972 Returns to Paris Period of reflection: Venet writes about conceptual art and his own work. his purpose is to correct commentary that he judges to be erroneous, and to elucidate and detail the specific nature and originality of his efforts. 1974 Teaches "Art and Art Theory" at the Sorbonne, Paris. Frequent lectures in France, England, Italy, Poland and Belgium. Monograph by Catherine Millet published by Editions du Chene, France and Edizioni Prearo, Italy. Film produced by Jean Pierre Mirouze on Bernar Venet, Exhibit of his conceptual works at the institute of Contemporary Art, London. Represents France as the XII Sao Paulo Bienniale, Brazil, with Gottfried Honnegger and Francois Morellet. 1976 Returns to New York in January. Moves to West Broadway and becomes compelled to again produce art. The first canvases from the series Angles and Arcs, are a group of extremely restrained paintings of elementary geometrical figures. Retrospective of his conceptual works at la jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California. 1977 Exhibits at Documenta VI, Kassel, Germany. Exhibition of recent work at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Saint-Étienne, France. 1978 Participates in the exhibit "From Nature to Art. From Art to nature.", at the Venice Biennale, Italy. 1979 Begins the series of wood reliefs entitled "Arcs, Angles, Diagonals", and creates the first Indeterminate Line. Starts work on steel sculptures composed of two arcs. Concept for a monumental arc on a highway. Receives a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. Develops the series of wood reliefs: "Indeterminate Lines". 1983 First maquettes for steel sculptures of Indeterminate Lines. Seth Schneidman produces the film "Bernar Venet 1983" in New York. Works on projects involving monumental sculptures. 1984 November: starts creating his sculptures at Atelier Marioni, a foundry in the Vosges region of France. First exhibition of Indeterminate Lines, (floor/wall) sculptures at Galerie Templon, Paris. First plans for, and photo collages of, "The Major 185.4° Arc". 1987 For the 750th anniversary of Berlin, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Air France present the city with "Arc of 124.5°". This sculpture measures 70 x 140 feet. 1988 Jean-Louis Martinoty asks Bernar Venet to stage his ballet "Graduation" (conceived in 1966) at the Paris Opéra. The artist is the author of the music, choreography, set designs, and costumes. Receives the Design Award for his sculpture in Norfolk, Virginia. Exhibition of Photographs: 1961-1988 at Galerie Michèle Chomette, Paris. The E.P.A.D. commissions the monumental "Two Indeterminate Lines" for the new La Défense business center on the edge of Paris. Installation of "Arc of 115.5°" for Telic-Alcatel, Strasbourg. Publication of a substantial monograph "Venet" by Jan van der Marck Editions de la Différence, Paris. 1990 Inauguration of the monumental sculpture "Indeterminate Line" at Place de Bordeaux, Strasbourg, France. First furniture exhibition at Galerie Mostra, Paris, and then Galerie Eric Van de Weghe in Brussels. Creates first maquettes and large scale versions of Random Combinations of Indeterminate Lines. 1991 Creates several musical compositions including "Sound" and "Resonance" at the Studio Miraval, Var, France. Release of two compact discs on the Circé-Paris label, "Gravier/Goudron", 1963, and "Acier Roulé E 24-2", 1990. Executes a series of new, heavy, torch-cut, steel furniture. "Noir Noir et Noir", a book on Bernar Venet's photographic work from 1961 to 1991, is published by Editions Marval, Paris. Text by Jean-Louis Schefer. Completes "Le Rocher des Trois Croix", (joint homage to Giotto, Grünewald, and El Greco) installed atop the mountain Roquebrune-sur-Argens, in the Var region of France. 1992 Bernar Venet records the sounds of the Air France Concorde engine, for the musical composition "Wall of Sound". He shoots the film "Acier Roulé XC-10" at the Marioni-Vosges atelier. Travels to Japan for the inauguration of the sculpture at Adachi-ku, Tokyo. Starts a series of steel reliefs composed of arrows: "Arbitrary and Simultaneous Directions". 1993 Invited to participate in the artist's film festival in Montreal for his film "Acier Roulé XC-10" ("Rolled Steel XC-10"). Retrospective exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain in Nice, France, which travels to the Wilhelm-Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen, Germany. 1994 In March, presents a retrospective of his work at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, in Colombia. Mr. Jacques Chirac, then Mayor of Paris, invites Venet to present 12 sculptures from his Indeterminate Lines series on the Champ de Mars. Later that autumn, he exhibits at the Total Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, and at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida. Works on the first sculptures "Barres Droites". A monograph by Carter Ratcliff is published by Editions Cercle d'Art, Paris. 1995 In the spring, travels to San Francisco for the inauguration of his monumental sculpture "Indeterminate Line", at the Runnymeade Sculpture Farm. In May, he inaugurates in Kowloon, Hong Kong, at the Museum of Modern Art, the first exhibition of the world tour of the works presented in 1994 at Champ de Mars. In June, he is the first artist to inaugurate the new Museum of Art in Shanghai. A sojourn to Graphicstudio, in Tampa, Florida, for an edition of large prints realized with tar and a steam roller. He develops his new work on the theme of the straight line: "Accident Pieces". New reliefs executed in steel with an acetylene torch: "Indeterminate Area". 1996 Invited as a "Master in Residence" at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, in Florida. Is awarded the honor of "Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres" by the Minister of Culture in France. Thierry Spitzer films an installation of "Accident" - the new works composed of straight lines, which are also exposed at the Galerie Karsten Greve in Paris, and in July at the Espace Fortant de France in Sète. From May through July, the city of Brussels invites Venet to exhibit ten large sculptures from the Indeterminate Lines series on Avenue Franklin Roosevelt. 1997 Moves to a studio in Chelsea, New York City. Begins a news series of sculpture titled "Four Arcs and Five Arcs". Designs a museum complex, for an exhibition in Espace d'Art Concret, in Mouans-Sartoux, France. Becomes a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg, Austria. 1998 Travels to China. Is invited by the Mayor of Shanghai to participate in the Shanghai International Sculpture Symposium. Executes large scale "Four Arcs Sculptures", and intensively develops "Indeterminate Area Reliefs" during the summer in Le Muy. 1999 The third and definitive version of the film, "Tarmacadam", from 1963, is realized with the help of Arkadin Productions for the exhibition "Bernar Venet (1961-1963)", at the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva. Black and white. 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Installation of a public sculpture in the City of Cologne, Germany, in honor of the G-8 Summit. Publication of his poetry "Apoétiques 1967-1998", by the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva. Public commissions for the new university in Geneva. 2000 Develops a new series of wall paintings called "Major Equations", which are exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, and Saõ Paulo, and at the Centre Georges Pompidou, in Cajarc, as well as at MAMCO in Geneva. Public commission for the City of Bergen, Norway. A year of important publications: "Bernar Venet 1961-1970", a monograph about the young artist by Robert Morgan; "Sursaturation", an original work about reflections on the possibilities of literature; "Bernar Venet – Sculptures & Reliefs", written by Arnauld Pierre; "La Conversion du regard", with texts and interviews from 1975-2000; "Global Diagonals", a catalog concerning a humanistic, artistic, and technological project with straight lines (300 feet each) virtually connecting the five continents. 2001 Exhibition of the new paintings on canvas at the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris. Poetry reading at the White Box Gallery with Robert Morgan. Inauguration of the Chapelle Saint Jean in Chateau-Arnoux, with the stained glass windows and all the furniture designed by Bernar Venet. His furniture is exhibited at SM'ART (Salon du mobilier et de l'objet design) at the Caroussel du Louvre in Paris. Exhibition of furniture at the Rabouan Moussion Galerie in Paris. On this occasion Editions Assouline published a book "Furniture", with text by Claude Lorent, on all of Venet's designs. 2002 Performance-poetry-film-music at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France. Invited by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts to lecture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on the theme of "Arts as a Mediator of Tolerance". Exhibition of "Indeterminate Lines" at the Galerie Academia in Salzburg, Austria, as well as in solo show at the Robert Miller Gallery, New York. Twelve large sculptures are exhibited at "The Fields - Art OMI International Sculpture Park" in New York state. This show moves to Florida (at the Atlantic Center for the Arts) in 2003. Solo shows of new paintings at Ludwigsmuseum in Koblenz, Germany, in addition to solo exhibit of single equation and new saturation paintings at Grant Selwyn Fine Art in New York. 2003 Thomas McEvilley writes a monograph about his complete work. An English version of "La Conversion du regard", a compilation of writings and interviews from the years 1975 - 2003, is due to be published in the fall, with new texts by Ken Allan and Enrico Pedrini. Seventeen one-man shows are expected throughout the United States and Europe.
Born on April 20 1941 at Chateau-Arnoux-Saint-Auban in the Alps of Haunte-Provence. His father, Jean-Marie Venet, a schoolteacher and chemist, dies at the age of 40, leaving his widow Adeline Gilly in charge of their four sons, of which Bernar is