Diary of a confined artist
with Bernar Venet
In a few words, who are you?
My name is Bernar Venet.
My sculptural work is quite well-known, but I have developed a lot of other types of diverse activities like photography, painting, drawings, poetry, as well as music.
I am currently working on ambitious projects for monumental sculptures for the United States and Ireland. These are commissions following the unveiling of the Arc Majeur last fall in Belgium. One can say this is the tallest sculpture in the world, so it impressed many people, and I’ve since received ambitious commissions.
A lot of my time is also spent taking care of the Venet Foundation: where I have a number of new spaces that allow me to install large Effondrements (Collapses).
Is this global crisis affecting your creativity?
If I’m being honest, I don’t think that everything that is going on right now will change my activity, my way of operating, or my way of thinking, much. I think I have a sort of energy, a strong will to create, the conviction I have not yet done enough, and so there is a sort of urgency now, at my age, to hope to one day make something that will make it so I deserve to make a video with you, for example – that I deserve to exist. My dynamism will be unaffected.
Personally, I am not very affected because I canceled six solo exhibitions that were slated to take place between the months of January and June, and due to the all flight restrictions, I am staying home. So I have more time to think, create, and work. I am not wasting any time!
I have everything I need here in Le Muy, so am fully operational.
What do you think this crisis is revealing about our society?
This crisis has made me realize how fragile we are. We have to remember that the universe evolves in a chaotic manner – and there isn’t necessarily a link to my work. I think my environment doesn’t have much of an influence on my work. But despite everything, we are part of this chaos.
What are your biggest hopes for a post-COVID-19 world?
When we try to forecast the catastrophes that may occur, it is always based on past experiences. And it is quite difficult to predict what we have not yet experienced. Let’s hope that our planet will take over, that people will be able to get back to work, and live properly.
Human beings make mistakes. They are far from being wise and despite their ideals, humans can’t practice good thinking and right goals. However, humans do have an extraordinary ability to adapt and survive. That being said, this survival should not be at the expense of our environment. This is what we should hope for.