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This essay by curator Freddy Carreño was written on the occasion of the Carlos Cruz-Diez exhibition held at the Museo Soto in Ciudad Bolívar in 1998 and 1999. Carreño argues that color is a primordial concern of this chromatic Kinetic artist. To provide a theoretical framework for his thesis on Cruz-Diez’s contribution to contemporary art, Carreño details a historical overview of artists and movements that address the possibilities of autonomous color, pointing out that along those lines, art history has honored Impressionism. Carreño concludes that Cruz-Diez is the only artist who engages color as means of expression activated by viewer participation, and also as a subject of ongoing and deep investigation. He individually analyzes a large number of the works from different periods in the show.
The essay, by critic and curator Freddy Carreño written for the exhibition catalogue for Carlos Cruz-Diez, held at the Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto in Ciudad Bolívar from October 1998 to April 1999, is one of the most thorough studies ever written on the Venezuelan master of chromatic Kinetic art. Owing to the curatorial, historical, and anthological nature of the essay, Carreño is able to lay out an orderly overview of Cruz-Diez’s vast production. He analyzes the artist’s trajectory in the context of global modern art and contemplates Cruz-Diez’s poetics, techniques, and discoveries in the fields of physics and color. On that basis, he outlines an acute visual analysis of a large number of works; his essay encompasses the artist’s entire body of work, from his early abstractions of the fifties, which are tied to his training in graphic design, to the impressive Soto-Cromovela (1998), created specifically for the exhibition.
This is an axiological assessment of an artist who had been producing for half a century, one that recognizes the true magnitude of his contribution to modern art. In an attempt to contextualize the artist, Carreño asserts that, within Kinetic art, the work of Victor Vasarely was what made way for renewed engagement with color and laid the groundwork for Cruz-Diez—heir to the modern tradition specifically in terms of conception of and engagement with color. In this detailed, didactic, and rigorous essay, Carreño takes pains to demonstrate all the theses he develops. To support those theses, he cites writings on the artist by celebrated international critics.
For other texts on Cruz-Diez’s work, see Jean Clay’s untitled essay (doc. no. 858602) [Pronto hará ocho años que Carlos Cruz-Diez...]; 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); and interviews by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, “Entrevista a Cruz Diez [No imitamos, nos imitan]” (doc. no. 862938) and José María Salvador, “El artista en la arquitectura y la ciudad: Diálogo con Carlos Cruz-Diez” (doc. no. 858069).