Angles: Bernar Venet at Paul Kasmin New York

The French conceptual artist’s sculptures redefine the cityscape

If you take a walk through New York’s Union Square Plaza throughout June, then you will be in for a visual surprise. For there you will find, soaring 24ft into the city sky, Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles (first picture), a new piece by French conceptual artist Bernar Venet. Made from Corten steel, the sculpture’s angles both mirror and disrupt the surrounding cityscape.

This outdoor piece complements Venet’s inaugural solo show (April 28-June 18) at the Paul Kasmin Gallery (prices from $50,000), a few blocks away. Angles features four more new Corten-steel sculptures and, like Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles, each one is an assemblage of acute angles of varying heights and differing angular degrees. Some extend across the horizontal axis, filling the gallery floor (such as 11 Acute Unequal Angles, 2016, third picture), while others such as 8Acute Unequal Angles (second picture), stretch vertically drawing the viewer’s eyes upwards.

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Venet has been exploring angles and lines since the 1970s. These latest pieces see him working with a single angle, showing it at different stages of growing, opening and stretching so that each sculpture can be seen as a sequence of repeated movements. Viewed together in this bright, white space, the four separate works exude a quiet collective power.

The curious-minded will be delighted to hear that this show also includes a set of smaller sculptural maquettes, which provide an insight into the artist’s thought and making processes.

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A small show, perhaps, but one to savour.

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