Bernar Venet
Undetermined line, 1989

Bernar Venet says that two factors determine the quality of a work of art: its ability to assert itself neutrally and objectively in the space, and the artist’s decision not to impose a distorting subjectivity on the material. Drawings created between 1976 and 1979 of simple geometrical figures like circles, straight lines, angles and diagonals mark the beginning of Venet’s artistic career. He made sculptures on the basis of these drawings in the eighties that replace the line – a determinant that can only exist in two dimensions – with long square bars. This produces monumental steel sculptures like Undetermined Line that fit in with Venet’s ideas of a “literal, explicit way of working free of tricks or ambiguity.” As Undetermined Line consists of a single, continuous metal bar and not of individual pieces of metal welded together, it is the product of a deliberately anti-sculptural process. Instead of following the rules of accumulation and composition, as is customary in classical sculpture, Venet shapes the available material without any further additions or reductions. For the artist himself his work is not complete until the moment when he photographs his sculptures from different angles and under different lighting, and captures the sculpture on paper once again. The final step is that he uses the photographs as a basis for more drawings.

Bernar Venet

* 1941 Château-Arnoux, F
Lives and works in New York City (NY), USA
Bernar Venet
2 angles supplementaires 131° et 49°, 1976
Acrylic on canvas

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