Bernar Venet’s “Angels” at the Paul Kasmin Gallery
Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Bernar Venet’s exhibition, Angles. The conceptual artist’s inaugural solo show at the gallery unveils a brand new series of large-scale Angles. The exhibition features four cor-ten steel sculptures, each an assemblage of acute angles of varying heights and differing angular degrees, some extending across the horizontal axis and others stretching vertically. Intended for indoor or outdoor installation, the sculptures work to define the spaces in which they are positioned. The scope of the new series is further articulated with the inclusion of smaller sculptural maquettes, offering the viewer insight into the artist’s thought process as he expands the vocabulary and points to new directions in this body of work.
To coincide with the exhibition, a monumental sculpture of the same series titled Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles is on view at Union Square Plaza (corner of 17th and Broadway) through June 2016, in collaboration with New York Department of Transportation and the Union Square Partnership. Experienced outdoors, the 24-foot sculpture echoes the endless vectors of city life and draws the viewers’ gaze skyward.
Venet’s sculptures have their roots at the turn of the last century. In 1909, the manifesto of Marinetti’s Futurism introduced a new aesthetic, which advocated speed and extolled the values of aggression and destruction. While formal and self-referential, Venet’s works appropriate these qualities. This is witnessed in their differing and varying portrayals of accidents and collapses. The compositions are owed to the interplay of chaos and control, and the synergy between the physical qualities of the steel bars and the force of gravity.
The use of angles, aggression and directional energy are even more tangible in his most recent works. The acute angles hint at a fictional threat. But foremost, the way in which they are arranged in groups alludes to the repeated development of one angle at different stages of growing, opening, and stretching – as if it were a sequence of movements like Giacomo Balla’s study of speed La vitesse abstraite, or of Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Thus, the sculptures may be seen as a succession of angles, or as a repetition of the same angle at different stages of its evolution: in different positions, simultaneously represented from different points of view.