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In the style of a manifesto, this brief text by Carlos Cruz-Diez sums up the main points expressed throughout his book Reflexión sobre el color and operative in his art in general. At the opening of the text, the Venezuelan Kinetic artist states, “I propose AUTONOMOUS COLOR.” Later, in the same tone, he declares, “I attempt to evidence color as an EPHEMERAL AND AUTONOMOUS SITUATION.” After listing the characteristics that that autonomous color implies, Cruz-Diez quotes Maurice Merleau-Ponty on Descartes in order to underscore a topic primordial to his proposal of color in space: “the affective resonance” that the experience of color incites in the viewer.


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 reflection to which the book’s title refers is voiced in this sixth chapter. This text is striking because, though found in the middle of a book that reflects on color and discusses color theory, it is written in the style of a manifesto. The text sums up key aspects of many of Cruz-Diez’s writings and interviews, that is, what the artist sees as unique and unprecedented insights into the pursuits of artists from the past and present. Those insights are related to questions like viewer participation, which is central to Cruz-Diez’s notion of, among other things, “the chromatic event.” While this “reflection” may seem like a manifesto, it is ambiguous; after concise opening remarks based on a quote from phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Cruz-Diez turns to the topic of the viewer and perception. On a formal level, this text, like the other texts in Reflexión sobre el color (1989), proposes a visual, as well as conceptual, reading: emphasis is placed on some of the sentences by very large letters, underlining, bold type, or placement in the middle of the page—all of which evidence Cruz-Diez’s mastery of graphic design and of advertising.


[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) “[El arte es una estructura compleja…]” (doc. no. 857019); (untitled) “[Los nuevos conceptos y experiencias que se realizan en la actualidad...]” (doc. no. 856961); “¿Por qué explicar el arte?” (doc. no. 857038); “¿Por qué una reflexión sobre el color?” (doc. no. 857817); and “La construcción de un lenguaje” (doc. no. 857057)].

Maria Elena Huizi
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
© 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris
Courtesy of Carlos Cruz-Diez/ Cruz-Diez Foundation, Paris, France
Biblioteca Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Plaza de Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas