Bernar Venet 1961-1965 – Hypothèse immanence

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Published to coincide with the Venice Biennale 2024, during which the artist will present works from this period at the Bibliotheca Nazionale Marciana.


Recognized today as one of France's leading artists, his work is exhibited all over the world. While his monumental steel sculptures are widely distributed, his early works, from the late 1960s, are much less well known to the general public. From the age of 19, the artist began his research into materials. He began the Goudrons series. In 1963, with the Reliefs cartons, he sublimated this medium by spraying it with glycerophtalic paint, evacuating all subjective and lyrical elements generated by the artist's hand.

He preferred bitumen and industrial lacquer to oil paints, thus breaking with the pictorial academicism of the gestural abstraction of the time. In the same years, he produced his first sound piece, Gravier Goudron, which consists of a recording of the sound of a wheelbarrow wheel on gravel. His performance dans les détritus, analyzed in this book by Maurice Fréchuret, and Tas de chardon, about which Bernard Ceysson has written a 200-page book, are now emblematic works from his more radical period.

As part of the prestigious Venice Biennale 2024, a major retrospective of the artist's work from 1961-1965 has been organised, presenting almost all of his work from this period. Following on from Les Origines 1961-1966, which is now out of print, this new edition, completely revised in format and expanded with previously unpublished iconography and archives, is now the definitive reference book on the early work of an artist who left a lasting mark on the history of art.


Data sheet

Number of pages
24 × 30 cm
french / english

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