Installation view The Parabola of History by Bernar Venet. Curator : Jérôme Sans, a project by Perrotin. Photo: Tanguy Beurdeley. ©VENET/ADAGP, Paris, 2023. Courtesy Perrotin
La Parabole de l'Histoire
solo show
March 18 - April 20, 2023
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Place Vendôme

75001 Paris

Curator: Jérôme Sans

A project by Perrotin

In conjunction with the exhibition Diffeomorphism and Discontinuity, on show at Perrotin Marais and Matignon from March 18, the internationally recognized French artist Bernar Venet presents the installation The Parabola of History at the Place Vendôme, curated by Jérôme Sans. As a tribute to his work in public space, this installation uses the artist's trademark geometric vocabulary and his favorite material: Corten steel.

Portait of Bernar Venet. Photo: Tanguy Beurdeley. Courtesy Perrotin

Born in 1941, Bernar Venet has been radically redefining the boundaries of art for over sixty years using radical gestures and a multifaceted practice that oscillates between the precision of mathematics and the unpredictability of accidents. One of the most internationally renowned French artists since the 1960s, Venet was named “Artist of the Year 2022” by The American Friends of Museums in Israel. After living in New York, he settled in Le Muy, in France’s Var region, where the Venet Foundation organizes annual exhibitions.

Erected on the cobblestones, two Corten-steel Arc sculptures interact with the square’s barren geometric order, designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1699. On one side, two methodically stacked and intertwined tilted Arcs (Arcs penchés) stretch towards the sky.

On the other side, as a result of random forces, a series of collapsing Arcs (Effondrement) form a closed circle, like an agora that the visitors can enter. From the celestial to the terrestrial, an alchemical combination of order and chance, the sculptures interact with each other, converging in their horizontality. Frequently used in construction, Corten steel evolves like a living skin while being extremely resistant. At once ephemeral, durable, ordered, and chaotic, his sculptures reflect the dualities inherent in artistic creation and existence.

Resulting from a constant desire to rethink the traditional forms of sculpture, the stacked, colliding metal bars defy the classical principle of formal elevation. No longer erected but collapsed, Bernar Venet’s sculpture subverts the rules. The falling sensation created by the stacking of steel bars, as imposing as they are elegant, refers to the history of the Vendôme column, demolished in 1871 before being rebuilt a few years later.

Bernar VENET

Born in 1941
Lives and works in Le Muy, France

As a central figure on the international art scene, Bernar Venet has lived mainly in New York since 1966, and now resides in Le Muy in the Var where the Venet Foundation organizes exhibitions every summer. The very radical artistic positions of his period in Nice, as well as those he adopted upon his arrival in the United States, allowed him to exhibit early on with the great representatives of Minimal and Conceptual Art of the time. Particularly recognized for his monumental sculptures in corten steel, his work has continued to flourish and to be celebrated accross diverse fields including painting, performance, poetry, sound, design and photography.

His work is collected by more than a hundred prestigious institutions around the world, including the Centre Pompidou (Paris), MoMA and the Guggenheim (New York), LACMA (Los Angeles), the National Museum of Modern Art (Seoul). He has also carried out numerous public commissions in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and America.

More about the artist