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 interview, Claude-Louis Renard seeks insights into the Venezuelan visual artist Jesús Rafael Soto’s thinking and character. Chronologically structured along biographical lines, the conversation begins with Soto’s early days as an artist in Ciudad Bolívar, his introduction to Cubism, and his earliest influences: Kazimir Malevich, Marcel Duchamp, and particularly Paul Cézanne. The French interviewer mentions Soto’s association with other artists (Venezuelans and of other nationalities) who were living in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s. The two men discuss various transcendental concepts in the evolution of Soto’s work. Renard also asks questions of a more personal nature, enquiring about Soto’s feelings about music, his family, his friends, and (as a singer and guitarist) his innate liking for parties and gatherings.
Claude-Louis Renard (1928–2005), the French businessman who was deeply involved with the world of international contemporary art, interviewed the Venezuelan artist Jesús [Rafael] Soto (1923–2005) in Paris. The resulting article appeared in the catalogue for Soto: A Retrospective Exhibition that was presented at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1974. Renard’s article was subsequently included in the catalogues for the following exhibitions: Soto. Œuvres Actuelles, presented at the Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou de Paris, and Jesus-Raphael Soto, presented at the Helsinki City Art Museum. Both events took place in 1979. The article was translated into at least five languages and was used quite extensively in the late 1970s at exhibitions of Soto’s work. One of the main reasons for this was that—in addition to its personal insights into this avant-garde artist’s life—the article discusses many of the concepts that underpinned his artistic and philosophical ideas about his own work, including his interest in viewer interaction with a work of art, and the importance of the relationship between the elements involved. The article also shows how such concepts have evolved throughout the course of Soto’s long search for a pure form of abstraction (free of any trace of Figurative expression). Renard was always interested in the concept of incorporating art into architecture; hence his interest in Soto’s work and the possibility of incorporating it into the buildings at the Renault plant, given his relationship with the French automotive company.
[For other articles about Soto, see in the ICAA digital archive by Alfredo Boulton “El cinetismo de Soto” (doc. no. 1069749), and “Jesús Soto 1971” (doc. no. 1059661); the essay by Ariel Jiménez “Jesus Soto. Lo visible y lo posible” (doc. no. 1073684); the article by Alejandro Otero “Las estructuras cinéticas de Jesús Soto” (doc. no. 850667); by Carlos Díaz Sosa “Jesús Rafael Soto. La gran pintura es cosa de progreso histórico” (doc. no. 1097076); the article by Guillermo Meneses “Soto” (doc. no. 1080690); the one by various authors titled “Soto: estructuras cinéticas” (doc. no. 1059619); the text by Umbro Apollonio “(Sin título) [included in the catalogue “Vibrations by Soto” produced by The Kootz Gallery 1965]” (doc. no. 1069781); the articles by Roberto Guevara “La energía como realidad” (doc. no. 1102332), and by Vladimir Tismaneanu “La metafísica del espacio en la obra de Soto” (doc. no. 1101524); the interview by Roberto Guevara “La nueva lectura de la realidad. Una conversación con el maestro Jesús Soto” (doc. no. 1059731); the philosophical essay by Jacques Leenhardt “Soto” (doc. no. 1073536); the essay by the French intellectual Gilles Plazy “Soto” (doc. no. 1101556); the review by the Czech Frank Popper “(Sin título) [Jesús Rafael Soto...]” (doc. no. 1073597); the autobiographical article by Soto, “Soto habla de Soto” (doc. no. 1080906); and the script for the documentary by the same name, written by Clara Diament Sujo and produced by the filmmaker Ángel Hurtado, “Así nace un mural con Jesús Soto” (doc. no. 1168365)].