This text by well known Venezuelan writer and art critic Guillermo Meneses (1911–1978) was first published in issue number 191 of the magazine El Farol (Caracas, 1960) and later in the catalogue to the exhibition, Soto, held at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in July and August of 1971. Although his text is literary in style, Meneses was very close to the Venezuelan contemporary art scene, especially its newest tendencies and ideas. By the time this essay was written, Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2005) was a well established figure in the abstract Kinetic movement, having exhibited at major museums around the world (Paris, London, and New York) and in galleries in Germany, Belgium, and Italy. The search for pure abstraction—that is, abstraction with no trace of figuration—was a constant in Soto’s visual thinking and the beacon of his production. In his work, Soto introduced new mechanisms, such as optical vibration and dynamic material, while forging physical-dynamic ties between the different elements in the work. Meneses’s biographical essay is quite particular insofar as it goes beyond the artistic accomplishments and philosophical conceptions that Soto’s work entails; it focuses on Soto as a human being rather than as an artist, discussing how the majestic and peaceful landscape of Guayana, where the artist was born and spent much of his youth, influenced the formation of his character. Soto was an artist who yearned to express his ideas in a manner all his own. According to Meneses, the artist’s family and friends—as well as his larger social circle—, and especially music were essential to his personality.
For other critical texts on Soto’s work, see Umbro Apollonio’s text featured in the catalogue for the exhibition, Vibrations by Soto, held at The Kootz Gallery in 1965 (ICAA digital archive 1069781); “Soto: Estructuras cinéticas” (1059619); “En la Bienal de Córdoba: Definiciones del venezolano Jesús R. Soto. Aporte americano al arte universal” (772726); “Les pénétrables de Jesús Soto ou le recours a l'archaïque=Los penetrables de Jesus Rafael Soto o el recurso de lo arcaico” (805856); “Las Estructuras cinéticas de Jesús Soto” (850667); “Soto: Estructuras cinéticas” (1059619); the essay, “Sin título” [catalogue text for the “Vibrations by Soto” for the exhibition held at The Kootz Gallery in 1965] (1069781); Roberto Guevara, “La energía como realidad” (1102332); and Vladimir Tismaneanu, “La metafísica del espacio en la obra de Soto” (1101524). See also the interview by Roberto Guevara, “La nueva lectura de la realidad: Una conversación con el maestro Jesús Soto” (1059731).