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, Carlos Cruz-Diez discusses the socio-cultural factors that condition perception of color—the reason for his interest in engaging in theoretical reflection on the topic. In his view, for the general public as well as for the artistic milieu, information about color has been institutionalized and developed no further than Impressionism. It is limited by “worship of form and of image” as well as the myths, prejudices, and interests that determine “taste.” Cruz-Diez asserts that our relationship to color is deeply “emotional” and that his work is an attempt to reveal the nature of color and how it affects man beyond the obstacles produced by cultural conventions.
In 1989, Carlos Cruz-Diez published the book Reflexión sobre el color. The volume, which contains a great many illustrations, compiles sixteen texts by this fundamental figure in what is called “Venezuelan Kinetic art,” among them five technical texts on his series Fisicromías (1959), Inducción cromática (1963) Cromo-interferencias (1964), Transcromías (1965), and Cromosaturación (1965). The brief volume contains an appendix with quotes from classical and contemporary authors. The concern of this fourth text in the book is to address the topic of color from a socio-cultural, rather than phenomenological, perspective. Cruz-Diez considers color a “hyper-baroquely polychromatic” social convention. The approach to color in this text is in no way related to the physics or phenomenology of color central to the artist’s research. It refers, rather, to man’s emotional relationship to color, to the influence of myths, prejudices, conventional and personal taste on our connection to color, and to the relationship between color and memory. This discussion evidences one of Cruz-Diez’s distinctive traits, something often pointed out by his critics: concern with the social impact of the work of art and with making it enjoyable and comprehensible for a large number of people. In other words, Cruz-Diez affirms that his work attempts to reveal the nature of color and its impact on man beyond the obstacles produced by cultural conventions. This text questions common ideas about color and, as such, is a self-sufficient essay even though published as part of a book.
[For other texts on Cruz-Diez’s work, see in the ICAA digital archive Jean Clay’s untitled essay “[Pronto hará ocho años que Carlos Cruz-Diez...] = [Voici bientôt huit ans que Carlos Cruz-Diez]” (doc. no. 858602); Víctor 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); Freddy Carreño’s “Carlos Cruz-Diez: el color más allá de la materialidad” (doc. no. 858046); Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza’s “Entrevista a Cruz Diez [‘No imitamos, nos imitan…’]” (doc. no. 862938); and José María Salvador’s interview “El artista en la arquitectura y la ciudad. Diálogo con Carlos Cruz-Diez” (doc. no. 858069). For texts by Cruz-Diez himself, see “Estética y efectividad” (doc. no. 857857); “Estructura y eficacia del discurso plástico” (doc. no. 857928); “Cambio de lectura. El color en el espacio. Caracas, 1959” (doc. no. 857908); “Dialéctica del color” (doc. no. 857888); “Didáctica y dialéctica del color” (doc. no. 858089); (untitled) “[Los nuevos conceptos y experiencias que se realizan en la actualidad...]” (doc. no. 856961); “¿Por qué explicar el arte?” (doc. no. 857038); “La construcción de un lenguaje” (doc. no. 857057); and “La reflexión” (doc. no. 857837)].