Bernar Venet (b. 1941) is a French conceptual artist, born in 1941 in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region of France. The painter and sculptor studied at the Villa Thiole in Nice for a year in 1958 before pursuing his career as an artist. From 1966, he lived in the United States, where he became known for his steel sculptures and drawings. He has since moved back to France, to Le Muy in the Var, where the Venet Foundation organizes exhibitions of his work.
In the 60s, he showed tar-coated canvases. His notoriety began during this period with the creation of a formless sculpture consisting of a pile of coal poured on the ground. His capacity for intellectual abstraction and his taste for mathematical reasoning and experimentation led him to what was soon to become conceptual art.
A friend of Arman, Jean Tinguely, Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, Venet worked in minimalist and conceptual modes throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In the 80s, he set up the basic structure of his "Lignes Indeterminées". He creates them in steel and installs them in numerous urban spaces and public collections, including Nice, Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, Strasbourg, Beijing, Austin, San Francisco and the Musée de Grenoble.
"My work is self-generating. Nothing around me particularly inspires me," he comments on his abstract art. "I work and make discoveries while keeping an open mind about what might present a new possibility in the context of my work; this framework aims to broaden its scope." He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 2005, and created the Venet Foundation in 2014, which serves as a museum and archive for his work. In 2011, the sculptor installs monumental works in the gardens of Versailles.