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In 1981, the researcher Gloria Carnevali conducted an interview with Carlos Cruz-Diez. Her questions address the formation of the artist’s own “conceptual platform”; she also asks him about his readings in philosophy, science and essays by other artists. She draws upon other sources such as his background in graphic arts and design, photography and film. The writer makes sure to cover further aspects such as the materials he uses and the artist’s adaptation of machines, implements and tools. Carnevali highlights the influences, both analytic and emotional, that have affected the artist’s work as well as that of his fellow artists in that generation, pointing out the differences between his experience of Europe and that of other artists. From there, the interviewer moves on to the origins and development of his works called “Kinetic,” starting with the execution of his first Fisicromía (1959). Cruz-Diez emphasizes his ideas on the future of humanity—both philosophical and humanistic, on the course of history and the importance of the artist’s intervention with architecture, more specifically, with the urban world.
This interview was conducted by Gloria Carnevali for the catalogue done for the artist’s 1981 exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Inber—now the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. It provides vast as well detailed information on the work and techniques of Carlos Cruz-Diez (b. 1923) and his times. The interviewer, based on her own training in philosophy, organizes the questions with such a methological order that, although they are short and the answers, extensive, the interview manages to cover the important themes. Though the interview is not divided into parts, there is a loose thematic order in the organization of the questions that fosters a coherent story about the artist’s life and work. The story includes biographical data and meticulous descriptions of the processes involved in the artist’s life, aesthetics and techniques. There are significant references to and examples from the history of [European/Western] art, both ancient and modern. The examples include Venezuelan art in the second half of the twentieth century.
By the time this exhibition was held in 1981, Cruz Diez, along with Jesús Soto, was considered one of the two great masters of Kinetic art in Venezuela. In the light of the history of Modern art, Cruz Diez came to Abstract art on the late side. Although he was a friend and colleague of the generation of Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero, unlike them, he saw no need to move to Paris in the 1940s or 1950s; neither was he interested in debates about art. During that time, his commitment was to the social problems of his country, and his painting was done in the context of social realism. After a long process of questioning and thinking, in 1954 Cruz Diez began to experiment in Abstract art, focusing his interest on chromatic phenomena; his discoveries about color marked new directions in his creative work. This reaffirms the importance of this document as a direct source.
[For other texts on the artist’s work, see the ICAA digital archive: Jean Clay’s essay “Sin Título [Pronto hará ocho años que Carlos Cruz-Diez...]” (doc. No. 858602); Victor Guédez’s article “Vertientes plásticas y estéticas en Carlos Cruz-Diez “(doc. No. 857000); Frank Popper’s study “Cruz Diez: el acontecimiento color” (doc. No. 861671); Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza’s interview “Entrevista a Cruz Diez [No imitamos, nos imitan]” (doc. No. 862938); and one more interview “El artista en la arquitectura y la ciudad: Diálogo con Carlos Cruz-Diez” by José María Salvador (doc. No. 858069)].