Ideas And Inspiration From Those In The Know
Home & Decor Singapore|October 2021
Ideas And Inspiration From Those In The Know

THE LAW OF GRAVITY

When something doesn’t change the history of art, is it even art? Bernar Venet, 80, says no. One of France’s greatest living artists and creator of the tallest public artwork in the world, Bernar talks to Y-JEAN MUN-DELSALLE about his latest exhibition at the Louvre-Lens Museum and his obsession with gravity, disorder and unpredictability.

Bernar Venet has always proclaimed, “It’s not art if it doesn’t change the history. From his foundation – a constant work-in-progress and representation of his ties with famous artists, such as Arman, Cesar, Man Ray and Christo – and a 6ha sculpture park to his Chateau de Versailles exhibition in 2011 and Arc Majeur, the world’s tallest public artwork (60m), every project he has created in his 60-year career has been an adventure and an accomplishment.

At 80, he is defying the effects of time, as neither physical nor mental ageing has affected him. It is still in his character to remain persistent and perfect, which means he’s always moving forward and innovating.

Size Matters

From one gargantuan work to another, Bernar’s visually recognisable bars of Corten steel will be on display at the Louvre Museum until January next year. He describes this ultimate recognition: “More than any other museum in the world, the Louvre embodies the idealised image of this paradise, where all the greatest artists in history meet forever. It is the image of a dream, and to enter it is the fulfilment of that dream.”

Weighing a tonne each, 110 beams – composed of signature Arcs, Straight Lines and Angles made in a Hungarian foundry – are strewn on the ground in the museum’s 1,000 sqm Glass Pavilion, as if they’d collapsed one on top of the other.

But far from having fallen randomly, they are arranged in an intentionally disorganised manner. Based on a scale model conceived in 1994, Bernar has displayed smaller versions of these Collapses in various venues over the years, plus 200 tonnes of Arcs in Le Muy, his most voluminous installation.

Among Giants

But this is the first time it’s “large enough that you can’t comprehend it with a single glance, and it becomes possible to move around inside,” he notes.

The Hypothesis of Gravity continues Bernar’s explorations of the disorder, entropy, gravity, instability and uncertainty central to his oeuvre.

“My Louvre-Lens installation is the most characteristic demonstration of the works I have created in recent years. By scattering a pile of steel bars in an uncontrolled and irreversible disorder, I am creating a work that demonstrates the nonproportional, the unconstructed and the non-pre-established.”

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