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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Contemporary art

Venet's "arcs" are as heavy as ITER coils

A "conceptual artist" among the most prominent on the art scene today, Bernar Venet is not impressed by massive towering steel structures like those in the ITER Assembly Hall. Creating massive towering steel structures are his daily routine. Two years ago, in Belgium, the French-born artist who spent most of his career in the United States, unveiled one of his most spectacular works: a 200-tonne, 60-metre-tall "Arc Majeur" that looks like a giant curved upholstery needle piercing the E411 motorway.

Conceptual artist Bernar Venet and his wife Diane toured the ITER construction site on Monday. Familiar with massive towering steel structures (his ''Arc Majeur'' sculpture is the largest work of art in Europe) the artist was deeply impressed by the intelligence and creativity that have made ITER possible. (Click to view larger version...)
Conceptual artist Bernar Venet and his wife Diane toured the ITER construction site on Monday. Familiar with massive towering steel structures (his ''Arc Majeur'' sculpture is the largest work of art in Europe) the artist was deeply impressed by the intelligence and creativity that have made ITER possible.
Born in Château-Arnoux-Saint-Auban, only 50 kilometres north of ITER, Venet visited the ITER site for the first time on Monday 29 November accompanied by his wife Diane—an art collector specialized in "artists' jewelry."

What impressed Venet most was not the size of the components being readied for installation in the Tokamak pit, or the 24-metre-in-diameter poloidal field coils currently in fabrication on the ITER site ... but rather the intelligence and creativity that make ITER possible. "Who are the people who designed such a machine? How did they manage to think about all the details?"

At an early stage of his career, Venet explored the artistic potential of equations, graphs, technical drawings, and traces of fundamental particles revealed in bubble chambers. At ITER, he might have found in plasma a source of inspiration for future works.



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