The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, researcher Ariel Jiménez asserts that although “beauty” is an attribute of art, it is not its primary aim. He explains that Jesús Rafael Soto’s work must be understood in terms of the new precepts of “pure” abstract art, which bears no relationship whatsoever to the traditional representation of elements taken from nature. Jiménez describes the development of Soto’s vast work in detail, starting with his early influences and his experimentation with different mechanisms of visual perception before reaching what the author considers the culminating moment of his production: the “Penetrables” in which the viewer becomes a vital element of the work.
This text by Venezuelan curator and critic Ariel Jiménez was featured in the exhibition catalogue for Jesús Soto. Lo visible y lo posible, organized by the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas and presented at the Museo de Arte de Coro. On the basis of his understanding of the “concept of beauty” in artistic creation, Jiménez attempts to grasp the true meaning of the work and thinking of Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005). In Jiménez’s view, Soto’s work is the product of the evolution of the creativity innate to the human species; it goes beyond the traditional concepts applied to art (color, form, line, and point). Soto’s visual experimentation has a significant philosophical facet as well in terms of its conception of space, although scientific theories of optical perception are also crucial to Soto’s work. Jiménez holds that “true” abstract art eschews figurative principles and refuses to make representations of elements taken from nature. In Jiménez’s view, abstract art is not the maximum stylization of a representation; what it is instead is “art for art’s sake,” art in a pure state with no need to represent anything. To that end, the artist must leave behind all established rules of composition, balance, and color. Jiménez emphasizes that Soto reached the heights of his philosophy with the idea underlying his “penetrables,” in which the work and the viewer come together to form a single entity. These works leave behind fixed temporality to make way for a new dimension of time where the moment of contact between the work and the individual assumes a new role.
For other texts on artist Jesús Soto, see by Alfredo Boulton “Jesús Soto 1971” [doc. no. 1059661], and “El cinetismo de Soto” [doc. no. 1069749]; the article by Alejandro Otero “Las estructuras cinéticas de Jesús Soto” [doc. no. 850667]; by Guillermo Meneses “Soto” [doc. no. 1080690]; the text by various authors “Soto: Estructuras cinéticas” [doc. no. 1059619]; the essay “Sin título” (catalogue text for the exhibition “Vibrations by Soto” at The Kootz Gallery 1965) [doc. no. 1069781]; by Roberto Guevara “La energía como realidad” [doc. no. 1102332]; by Vladimir Tismaneanu “La metafísica del espacio en la obra de Soto” [doc. no. 1101524]; and the interview by Roberto Guevara “La nueva lectura de la realidad: Una conversación con el maestro Jesús Soto” [doc. no. 1059731].