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 text, Romanian political scientist Vladimir Tismaneanu analyzes the art of Jesús Rafael Soto. He begins by examining the concepts of movement, time, and space in Soto’s creations, as well as the influences by artists such as Piet Mondrian exerted on him. He asserts that Soto’s reinterpretation of form is so exhaustive that it is liberated and ultimately, dematerialized. Lastly, Tismaneanu emphasizes the importance of viewer participation in and intervention on Soto’s work in a sort of man-work symbiosis.
This text by Vladimir Tismaneanu (b. 1951), a Romanian-born professor at the University of Maryland, appeared in the catalogue for the exhibition, Soto: Cuarenta Años de Creación
1943–1983, held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas in July 1983. It is striking that someone not overly connected to the world of contemporary art—Tismaneanu was mostly known for his writings on politics and the social sciences—was chosen to write the text for the first show of work by Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005) held at that museum. Regardless of the author’s background, the text shows great knowledge of modern art and of Soto’s work. The semantically complex essay places emphasis on the overwhelming philosophical-metaphysical component of Soto’s art. It is also a substantial work of criticism; Tismaneanu cites a number of texts on modern art and on Soto by prestigious authors such as Alfredo Boulton and Jean Clay, and the interview with Soto by Claude-Louis Renard. Tismaneanu probably came into contact with Soto’s work—which later inspired him to write this essay—during a visit to Venezuela in 1981, before the scholar settled in the United States. In his text, Tismaneanu pays particular attention to how Soto envisions time and space as vital to the perception of his work. Indeed, the other texts in this catalogue also discuss those themes, pointing out that Soto leaves behind the fixed temporality of painting to treat time like a fourth dimension. For other texts on Soto, see “Soto: Estructuras cinéticas” (ICAA digital archive doc. no. 1059619); “En la Bienal de Córdoba: Definiciones del venezolano Jesús R. Soto. Aporte americano al arte universal” (doc. no. 772726); texts by Alfredo Boulton, “Jesús Soto 1971” (doc. no. 1059661) and “El cinetismo de Soto” (doc. no. 1069749); an essay by Ariel Jiménez, “Jesus Soto: Lo visible y lo posible” (doc. no. 1073684)].