The Master Lecture Series
C. SCHOENKNECHT & W. PAUL SCULPTURE LECTURE
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 7 pm
Speaker: Bernar Venet
“The process of creation is what excites me most,” admits sculptor Bernar Venet. “How an artist comes up with new ideas, sculptures, paintings. And the added energy of improvisation-breaking that tendency to create a shape. It can be a mistake.”
Improvisation as an art form is the common thread woven through Venet’s five decades as an artist. The French-born sculptor brings his unique perspective to the C. Schoenknecht & W. Paul Sculpture Lecture on October 30, at 7 pm in the Grand Room. True to his process, Venet’s presentation will follow not a formal outline but an intuitive pathway exploring the expansive body of work comprising his acclaimed career, from monumental sculptures to Two Indeterminate Lines, which resides within our own Sculpture Park. Quintessential Venet, this five-foot creation of 400 tons of steel, bent cold and twisted to emulate a drawn line started as something entirely different. “While in my studio in the East of France, I originally created two separate pieces,” he recounts. “I realized that putting one inside the other made a different, more interesting energy.” Venet’s excitement for the Sculpture Park setting is equally palpable, “The sculpture just touches the ground, exactly as I wanted it. It's splendid, absolutely perfect."
Accompanied by film and slides, Venet will share his “evolution of how ideas come up by accident yet always through a rational process of thinking”, calling upon perhaps his most famous masterpiece, Pile of Charcoal, which many art historians consider revolutionary to the history of sculpture. “It came to me during a walk on the beach in Nice in 1963,” explains Venet. “I was inspired watching gentlemen fixing the road nearby, the way the graveled asphalt resembled the paintings covered in tar without composition that I had just created in my studio. I thought ‘my God, I should do this in sculpture’.” This innovative use of evolving form became his trademark. “It was the first time a sculpture was created without a real shape. At first glance, you may think ‘how can it be art?’ I will analyze my process and the parameters that prove it is indeed.”
Venet also will peer into his newest project, which is “so spectacular that it will leave people with an unforgettable impression.” The to-be-named radical work explores global art and communication through two identical sculptures on opposite sides of the world—a straight line that seemingly runs diagonally through the earth, connecting New York and Shanghai. The sculptural line emerges from the earth on both ends, underneath housing an art center where visitors in both cities can see—and talk to—people on the other end. “We’re using art and technology to create a global humanity, make meaningful connections. It goes beyond the physical aspect.”
FEE: Free for members, $12 non-members guests
RSVP to Shelly Kilroy or 616-975-3144
C-print speech-to-text transcription service will be provided.
This annual lecture is made possible by Charles Schoenknecht and Ward A. Paul.