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 elements with which he developed a grammatical structure that allowed him to create a different visual language. He analyzes traditional ideas of “form,” “composition,” “harmony,” “light,” and “shadow,” and explains how he produced an abstract “discourse” for his work in which he replaced traditional visual composition with pre-existing sketches based on their effectiveness. He illustrates his essay with nine sketches of geometrical figures on squared planes.
In 1989, Carlos Cruz-Diez published the book Reflexión sobre el color, which was generously illustrated and contained sixteen essays written by this seminal figure in the field of “Venezuelan Kinetic Art.” Five of these essays were technical descriptions of his series (Fisicromías, 1959; Inducción cromática, 1963; Cromo-interferencias, 1964; Transcromías, 1965; and Cromosaturación, 1965). The appendix to the book lists a collection of quotes from historical and contemporary authors. This is the final essay in the book. Taken as a whole, Reflexión sobre el color is a didactic book that has a lot to say about the artist’s techniques and his experiments in physics and the phenomenology of color, with scant reference to autobiographical, historical, or theoretical information, let alone art criticism. Very few essays in the book are about the ethics or philosophy of art, though each is important in its own way. As the final essay in the book, this one summarizes the artist’s conclusions, translating them into works of art that were becoming increasingly complex, as was his research. In very simple terms Cruz-Diez describes the process that took him years to complete, an accomplishment directly attributable to the tenacity and talent of this highly original artist. Just as Cruz-Diez’s work is unique in the world of Venezuelan visual arts, he is probably the only Venezuelan artist to have documented his work so thoughtfully and didactically. This essay, like others in the book, sheds light on what came before, but it also—as per his signature desire to be widely understood—includes his lucid description of what led him to one of his most significant achievements, which he refers to in many of his interviews and articles: the effectiveness of visual art.
[For other articles about this artist’s work, see in the ICAA digital archive the article by Jean Clay (untitled) [“Pronto hará ocho años que Carlos Cruz-Diez…”] = [“Voici bientôt huit ans que Carlos Cruz-Diez…”] (doc. no. 858602); the article by Víctor Guédez “Vertientes plásticas y estéticas en Carlos Cruz-Diez” (doc. no. 857000); the review by Frank Popper “Cruz Diez: el acontecimiento color” (doc. no. 861671); by Freddy Carreño “Carlos Cruz-Diez: el color más allá de la materialidad” (doc. no. 858046); the interview by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza “Entrevista a Cruz-Diez [‘No imitamos, nos imitan…’]” (doc. no. 862938); and the interview by José María Salvador “El artista en la arquitectura y la ciudad. Diálogo con Carlos Cruz-Diez” (doc. no. 858069). For articles written by Cruz-Diez, see “Estética y efectividad” (doc. no. 857857); “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); “La construcción de un lenguaje” (doc. no. 857057); and “La reflexión” (doc. no. 857837)].