Biography

Jesús Rafael Soto

Jesús Rafael Soto in Penetrable (1973), Parque García Sanabria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, September 1995

Photograph: © Courtesy of Carlos A. Schwartz

Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, 1923-2005.

Jesús Soto's artistic career began with abstract painting, before going through Op-Art and kinetic art, of which he is considered the main referent. During his career the artist played a crucial role in redefining the scope and social function of the work of art from his research around the space-time unity of the plastic object.

He studied Fine Arts in Caracas and was attracted by European avant-gardes and settled in Paris in 1950, where he was part of Los Disidentes, a group of artists from the Venezuelan diaspora who sought to renew the art of their country. There, he gets influenced by the work of Piet Mondrián, Kazmir Malevich, László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Duchamp, who are fundamental in the radical turn that would give the conceptualization of the artistic object in his work.

In 1958 Soto began the production of Vibrations, a series of works made from the superposition in several planes of plots and moving objects that create an infinite possibility of vibrations and variations, which gave way to dissertations around the experience of time in space. Soto manages to create works accessible to all people, without marking the differences of age or cultural capital of the viewer, appealing to the subject's own experience in relation to the artistic object.