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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 was one of the protagonists of kinetic art, having participated in the group exhibition “Le mouvement” (1955), at the Denise René Gallery in Paris, one of the foundational moments of the style. Throughout his career, he was prominent for the redefinition of the social role of art, grounded upon ample research about the spatio-temporal unity of the artistic object.

Having studied Fine Arts in Caracas, he moved to Paris in 1950, where he joined The Dissidents, a Venezuelan collective of artists that sought to renovate artistic practices back in their country of origin. Even though he has been commonly associated with Op Art, Soto’s work is rather characterized by the continuous study of movement and the dematerialization of the form, producing kinetic constructions in which the active participation of the spectator is key.

In 1958 he began Vibraciones, a series consisting of the overlap, in various levels, of grids and mobile objects that create infinite possibilities of vibrations and variations. Soto achieves the creation of works that are accessible to any and all public, without distinction of age or cultural capital, appealing to the very experience of the subject in relation to the artistic object.