First developed in 1974, Environnement Chromointerférent challenges the notion of artwork and viewer as separate entities.
This work projects a sequence of parallel-colored strips arranged vertically using light onto walls, the ground, the public, objects, and space. A disorientating state of motion is experienced as the space it is projected on transforms and makes transparent all that is within it. This creates an environment where people and objects become one with the work, acquiring the twin roles of actors and authors in a complex chromatic event that unfolds before your very eyes.
By changing the relationship between viewer and artwork Carlos Cruz-Diez takes people out of the shadows and places them firmly in the spotlight.
1965’s Chromointerference is composed of two layers; at its base is a sequence of parallel-colored strips arranged vertically that change color depending on the distance and movement of the viewer. On top is a transparent surface with a pattern made up of black lines creating interference. This can be stationary - making the movement dependent on the viewer - or in motion, either by hand (Chrominterference Manipulable) or with an engine (Chromointerference Mecanique). Due to the movement created by the overlaying pattern a volume effect is sometimes visible, creating depth where none exists. The colors of the modules brighten and change. According to Cruz-Diez this work is a “false prism” as it reproduces the colors of the light spectrum using the second layer of black lines.
Cruz-Diez was one of the most prominent figures of Kinetic art whose work has been based upon the revaluation of color as an experience in itself, as a phenomenon of light in which interpretation or cultural background is no longer relevant. His artistic practice invites viewers to become conscious of how perceptual relationships constitute the aesthetic, and how every context implies a different approach and construction of the same artwork.
His research has positioned him as one of the key thinkers of the 20th century when it comes to color. He has contributed majorly to the possibility of rethinking the relations between artist, spectator, and art, framing them within a participative process rooted exclusively in the use of color. In 1959 Cruz-Diez began his series Physichromie, through which he realized the idea of chromatic autonomy and its impact upon the viewer’s environment; one of the results was an important body of work that in later decades surpassed the limits of painting and explored the transformation of diverse spaces through the manipulation of color. His work emphasizes participation and interaction, spatial perception, and movement as the key elements of the artistic experience.