Bernar Venet was born in 1941 in Château-Arnoux-Auban in France. Venet moved to New York in 1966 where he rose to prominence through the avant-garde art scene developing a radical new approach combining mathematics and scientific language alongside artists such as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Lawrence Weiner and Art & Language.
Recent selected solo exhibitions include; Bernar Venet, Blain|Southern at Frieze Masters, London, UK; Bernar Venet, Blain|Southern at Frieze Sculpture Park, London, UK; Looking Forward : 1961-1984, Blain|Southern, London, UK; Bernar Venet at Cliveden, The National Trust’s Cliveden, Buckinghamshire, UK; Bernar Venet, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, USA (2017), Bernar Venet: Les origines 1961-1966, L'Espace de l'art concret, Mouans-Sartoux, FR; Bernar Venet, Custot Gallery Dubai, Dubai, UAE; RAW: portraits d’artistes, galerie rue Visconti, Paris, FR; Bernar Venet, Galería Cayón Blanca de Navarra 9 and Orfila, Madrid, ES; Bernar Venet: Angles, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY (2016), Mathematica, Michael Fuchs Galerie, Berlin, DE; l caos come principio sottovalutato dell'ordine (Chaos as an underestimated principle of order), Giorgio Persano, Turin, IT; Bernar Venet, Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti, Venice, IT; Bernar Venet: metametria, Vass Collection, Budapest, HU; Bernar Venet, Galerie Bernard Ceysson, LU (2015).
Venet currently lives and works in New York and is represented by Blain Southern.
Bernar Venet has practiced for over 50 years to create an exceptional body of work that employs a completely unique conceptual language. Widely credited as one of the pioneers of the conceptual movement, Venet was already experimenting with tar, cardboard and sound in the parade ground of his barracks, whilst carrying out military service in his twenties.
In 1966 Bernar Venet moved to New York where he aligned himself with the avant-garde, creating close friendships with artists such as Joseph Kosuth, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner. A seminal early installation work by Venet, Tas de Charbon (pile of Coal), is acknowledged as the first sculpture without a formal shape. The artist then suspended his studio practice, deciding to redirect his attention to philosophy, teaching at the eminent cultural theory school the Sorbonne in Paris for 5 years. This influence inspired a new approach to his artistic practice, which upon return in 1976, focused predominantly on the subject of the line.
Inspired by mathematical explorations into equilibrium, chance, order and disorder, and the relationship with the environment, Venet has created an impressive and colossal body of work composed of arcs, angles, straight and indeterminate lines, which have now come to define Venet’s sculptural aesthetic. These works are constructed out of russet-coloured cor-ten steel, a material more typically employed in large-scale industry such as bridge construction and the manufacture of shipping containers. Venet believes that no other material is able to absorb and reflect natural light quite as well as cor-ten steel; making it the most perfect material for monumental outdoor sculpture.