In 1966, the young artist Bernar Venet left Nice and moved to New York where he started an artistic revolution introducing mathematics, astrophysics and later many other fields of science and other disciplines into the art realm. In 1970, he forged a reputation as one of the leading lights of conceptual art, a nascent movement that swept across Europe and internationally.
The period 1966 to 1976 was a dazzling and prolific time during which Venet’s intuition and methodic vision set him on an unstoppable path to a new generation at once iconoclastic—pushing art beyond the boundaries of its own definition and process of emergence—and profoundly contemporary since it addressed more than any other art form the question of the dematerialization of art and information streams. This period also marked the beginnings of Bernar Venet’s multidisciplinary approach producing performances and conferences after meeting artists with links to the Judson Dance Theater in New York.
For the first time since 1971, this period, of which little is still known about this work, is the subject of a major retrospective. It gathers over 150 artworks and documents, most them being shown for the first time
The exhibition is extended to the top floor of the MAMAC with a room dedicated to major works of minimal and conceptual art selected from Bernar Venet’s collection, reflecting the intellectual and artistic landscape of this decade and his friendships at that time.
Parallel to this ten-year exhibition and research the MAC Lyon major show offers a retrospective of the artist’s full body of work: Bernar Venet: 2019 – 1959.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC & Alexandre Quoi, art historian
Project organised in partnership with the MAC, Lyon: Bernar Venet: 2019- 1969, curator: Thierry Raspail