Passers-by are stopped in their tracks. You don’t expect to see a heap of coal in the middle of Mayfair, not far from the busy shopping streets of Oxford Street and Regent Street, nor large bright yellow tubes, viewed through the double-height street-level windows.
Perhaps because his father was a chemist, French artist Bernar Venet uses unusual materials such as tar, industrial paint, cardboard, and coal and his work often has a scientific thrust. Unusual materials are transformed into sculptural art in his exhibition of work from 1961 to 1984 at Blain Southern. He also has a fascination with geometry, twisting right angles into new geometries and exploring unusual angles and curves such as 40.5 or 268.5 degrees, and with equations, whether in financial analysis for the stock market in the TV piece and newspaper article on “how to pick a fund” or in nuclear physics as he challenges the predictable with the unpredictable. There is also an associated link with fuels and energy: coal, nuclear and pipes that can be used to transport oil.