bernar venet frames belgian motorway in monumental corten steel l'arc majeur
 

bernar venet frames belgian motorway in monumental corten steel l'arc majeur

exhibiting art as a challenge to technology, renowned sculptor bernar venet inaugurates his monumental work entitled ‘l’arc majeur.’ along a highway in belgium. the installation of l’arc majeur began in march of 2019 along the E411 motorway, bordering the belgian provinces of namur and luxembourg. the artist had initially conceived the corten steel project over 35 years ago in 1984 — intending for it to be sited along a highway in france — during a time when art was just emancipating itself from the museum space and asserting its presence in the public space to be enjoyed by one and all.

bernar venet arc majeur
image © charles paulicevich

 

 

fabricated out of massive sections of corten steel, bernar venet’s l’arc majeur expresses its raw materiality and distorts the viewer’s perception of its environment. as early as 1984, the artist imagined a monumental arc, encircling the motorway, through which travelers could pass in one direction or the other. the project was long studied and ultimately abandoned until one day bernard serin, president of the belgian manufacturing and welding firm CMI group approached for a collaboration. l’arc majeur was ultimately fabricated by CMI group in its workshops at the welding expertise centre, integrating a regional heritage promoting belgian craft on the international stage. the sculpture now stands as both a work of art and a unique technical achievement.

bernar venet arc majeur
image © meta-morphosis

 

 

bernar venet’s l’arc majeur represents a technical achievement in terms of both its development, driven by engineering firm bureau greisch, and its fabrication. together with the scale of each steel section measuring twenty meters wide, and their unique geometries, the welding expertise centre (CMI group) used welding trolleys in a semi-automatic process. an experienced team of four welders and three fitters took turns over several months — for a total of more than 6500 hours — to create the monumental work. the advanced and innovative non-destructive testing technique, phased array ultrasonic testing, made it possible to check welds more quickly and above all to detect more completely the indications that ensure weld quality.

bernar venet arc majeur
image © meta-morphosis

bernar venet arc majeur
image by meta-morphosis

bernar venet arc majeur
image by meta-morphosis

bernar venet arc majeur
image © meta-morphosis

bernar venet arc majeur
image © meta-morphosis

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