March 19 - May 12, 2004
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

In his exhibition to be held from March 19 to May 12, 2004, Bernar Venet will present his new Indeterminate Lines, thus returning to this theme initiated in 1979, with more complex representations. Four large sculptures will be displayed on the ground floor of the gallery whereas “miniatures” (small sculptures of maximum 90 cm in height) and works on paper which accompany this new work will adorn the first floor.

Indeterminate Lines , along with Arcs , are the works which best characterise Bernar Venet´s creation and have earned him international recognition. Venet´s initial approach with his first Indeterminate Lines consisted in realising the technical and physical feat represented by the torsion of these thick beams of steel, opposed to any expressive body movement and any subjective composition of the artist. These rolled unilinear steel lines, without any welded or attached piece, bear the stigma of the struggle between the steel and the artist. Placed directly on the floor, exerting all their gravity to create themselves a niche, these works show the imperfect state in which the metal seeks to be left. As the years passed, having drawn lessons from his first works, the artist went on to master the process even better, the spontaneous gesture transforming itself into the voluntary one. Venet has acquired an impressive mastery of the technique which in turn has given rise to a virtual paradox between the indetermination of the object and the maestria with which it is created. Venet thus introduced an instructive nuance between the deliberate and the uncontrolled with respect to the indeterminate. Even though these sculptures are well seated on their resting places thanks to gravity, they seem to be part of an experimentation process involving the vertical, the oblique and the horizontal, which are the three elemental themes addressed by the artist.

Bernar Venet today decides to free his new Indeterminate Lines of all technical or physical constraint, in order to give them a life and body of their own, almost rendering them autonomous. The artist leaves behind evenness and linearity of his previous Indeterminate Lines, giving vent to the metal´s expression, more than ever before, for movement and improvisation. Compared to the austerity and the rigour of his older works, the silhouette of these new sculptures seems to originate literally from the “baroque”. Whilst their surface is always matt and colours dark, these lines go berserk all of a sudden, thus making their delimitation in space all the more ambiguous. The works are not subject to a given space but they generate a space, just as they generate their own forms, in a completely autonomous fashion. The spectator´s perception of their space is as problematic as their erratic pathways. Venet´s Indeterminate Lines simply impose themselves upon their exhibition area, not in the least afraid of “acting as a disruptive force, an obstacle to the view as well as a physical obstacle”.

This problem related to the spatial aspect of works becomes even more significant when Venet´s drawings, which are closely related with his sculptures, are considered. Just as the miniatures, which are not to be seen as scale models of his monumental sculptures, but as pieces resulting from experimentation with their own existence, Venet´s drawings of Indeterminate Lines may not be assimilated with preparatory work but as works themselves. Using oilsticks on a white background, these classic drawings explore in a very “illusionistic” way all the possible variations of a given sculpture from an arbitrary point of view and do not have any precise signification.

Before the exhibition of the most monumental works of this new series on Park Avenue in New York from 10 May to 29 August 2004, L´Espace de la perturbation (“Space for Disruption”) shall offer the French public a unique chance of contemplating the evolution of the Bernar Venet´s long work on the Indeterminate Line, of which, no work has been exposed in France ever since the Champ de Mars exhibition in Paris in March 1994.