September 3, 2018 - Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon - Bernar Venet: Retrospective 2019-1959 & The Conceptual Years 1966-1976
September 3, 2018

Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon / MAMAC de Nice

Bernar Venet, installation view at Kunsthalle Mücsarnok, Budapest, Hungary, 2012. Photo: György Darabos, Budapest.

Bernar Venet
Retrospective 2019-1959 & The Conceptual Years 1966-1976
September 21, 2018–January 13, 2019

Opening in macLYON: September 20, 6:30pm
Opening in MAMAC Nice: October 11, 7pm
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Two museums, the macLYON and the MAMAC Nice have come together to showcase the creative and radical dimension of Bernar Venet’s works.


Bernar Venet, Retrospective 2019-1959
From September 21, 2018 to January 6, 2019 
Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France

This exhibition presents a remarkable and previously unseen ensemble of 170 artworks, including Venet’s early performances, drawings, diagrams, and paintings, as well as the photographs, sound works, films and sculptures that retrace 60 years of creation. This is the most ambitious retrospective ever devoted to the artist.

It aims to examine the different stages that led a certain young artist, of twenty years of age, at the beginning of the 1960s to seek to “remove any form of expression contained in the artwork in order to reduce it to a material fact”. He then went on to appropriate science logic, and took a break of 5 years before finally returning, albeit unexpectedly, to his easel. These paintings were followed by sound works, poetry, and later by indeterminate lines, accidents, random combinations, and collapses, culminating in the curved lines of the monumental sculptures in Corten steel, dedicated to the urban space.

Bernar Venet’s retrospective also aims to show how reason and intuition have continuously and simultaneously converged in making his artwork, which feeds on instability, imbalance, entropy, unpredictability, uncertainty, turbulence, chance and incompleteness, a universe with forms that are as clear as they are poetic.

Curated by: Thierry Raspail

MAC Lyon
Cité Internationale
81 Quai Charles de Gaulle
F- 69006 Lyon 
+33 4 72 69 17 17


Bernar Venet, The Conceptual Years 1966-1976
From October 12, 2018 to January 13, 2019 
Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice

The exhibition offers for the first time since 1971—after Bernar Venet’s survey show at the New York cultural center—an exhibition dedicated to the Conceptual years of the artist. Between 1966 and 1970, Bernar Venet took an important part in the development of Conceptual Art and was soon recognized as one of the great artists on the international scene.

In the 1960s, deterred by the hackneyed conventions of French art and fascinated by American formalism and, above all, Marcel Duchamp, from 1970 onwards, Bernar Venet emerged as one of the leading figures of conceptual art. For the very first time, the exhibition at MAMAC aims to explore this little-known period of his career, which began in Nice and unfolded in the United States.

This extremely productive period, during which he incorporated the objectivity and rationality of mathematics, the pure abstraction of scientific research, linguistic issues and datas such as weather reports or stock exchanges into the field of art, also marked the start of a truly multidisciplinary approach. Alongside the presentation of around a hundred works, numerous archives from the Venet Foundation will shed light on the artist's creative process.

Curated by: Hélène Guenin, Director of the MAMAC, and Alexandre Quoi, Art Historian

Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain
Place Yves Klein
F – 06000 Nice
T +33 (0)4 97 13 42 01


Publications by Dilecta
a catalogue in French and English, texts by Thierry De Duve, Donatien Grau, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Thierry Raspail
Nice: a catalogue in French and English, texts by Catherine Millet, Alexandre Quoi, Erik Verhagen, Hélène Guenin
+ an anthology of 50 texts that are today indispensable, written by Pierre Restany, Catherine Millet, Thomas McEvilley, Barbara Rose… about Bernar Venet’s work since 1961


Press contact for both exhibitions
L’art en plus
T 0033 (0)1 45 53 62 74
c.villefayot [​at​]

Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon
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Retrospective 2019-1959 & The Conceptual Years 1966-1976
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