The vertical orientation of the eight curved steel columns in “88.5° ARCx8” contrast with the broad horizontal planes of land and sea below the sculpture on its harbour side; and echo the curves of the rolling ridges and softened gullies that sweep inland from the sculpture.
The soaring Corten steel forms are therefore a lyrical reminder of the way the visitor’s eye needs to swing in broad arcs, side to side and up and down, to take in the vast vistas of the Farm. The steel arcs, mounted high on the last ridge-top before the land descends to the coastal flats, also capture the distinctive Kaipara light; as Venet says of his work, “I am thinking about the sunrises and sunsets, and the golden light that steeps the Corten steel in red and brown hints.”
Whether they are molten red in the setting sun; charcoal black and silhouetted against a wide bright sky; or casting graphic shadows on the slopes below them; the eight steel arcs mark out a precise geometry that draws us closer to land, water and light.
Bernar Venet (b. 1941), based in Paris and New York, has been an international leader of Conceptual Art in painting, sculpture and concrete music composition for more than three decades. As early as 1974 he was teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris; and in the same year he represented France at the 13th São Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
In 1977 he was included in Documenta VI in Kassel, Germany; in 1978 at the Venice Biennale; and he returned to the Venice Biennale at the invitation of the Arsenale Novissimo with a major exhibition in 2009. Venet is the recipient of major awards, including the honour of Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996;
the Robert Jacobsen prize for sculpture from the Würth Stiftung in Germany in 2006; and France's highest decoration, the Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, in 2005. The artist has fulfilled numerous public art commissions, including in Cologne, Japan, Norway, Luxembourg, New York and Chicago.