Jesús Rafael SOTO

Triptico Azul, Negro y Violetta (Blue, Black and Red Triptych) 1977

Paint, nylon monofilament and wire on wood

2030 x 2030 x 50 mm

International Art Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Gifted by the Edmiston Trust.

Jesús Rafael Soto was one of a group of young artists who had work included in the 1955 exhibition Le Mouvement one of the first exhibitions to celebrate Kinetic and Op art.

He described a body of his work as Vibration Structures. They featured a wire structure in front of a background of black and white lines. In this work a delicate framework of filaments are suspended in front of a painting of black and white lines. 

As the viewer walks around the work an optical illusion of movement is created by the lines, which appear to form a moiré pattern. From the side the sway of the filaments can be observed in the slightest draft.

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Jesús Rafael SOTO 1923-2005

Jesús Rafael Soto was born in Venezuela. A painter and installation artist, he was an important exponent of the Optical and Kinetic art movements of the mid twentieth century.

As a boy he painted cinema posters before studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Caracas between 1942-47. From 1947-50 he was Director of the School of Fine Arts in Maracaibo and held his first one-man exhibition at the Taller Libre de Arte, Caracas, in 1949.

He moved to Paris in 1950 and began associating with Yaacov Agam, Jean Tinguely, Victor Vasarely, and other artists connected with the Salon des Realites Nouvelles and the Galerie Denise Rene. 

From 1951 he began experimenting with identical geometrical units in repetition to make his work more optical. Between 1952-57 he superimposed sheets of perspex marked with a stripe or spiral pattern in front of his patterned planes. As the viewer walked around his artworks the lines would appear to move and vibrate. He then made what he termed Vibration Structures which featured a wire structure in front of a background of black and white lines. From 1965 he made a number of wall-sized pieces and later environmental installations known as Penetrables which observers could walk through.

In 1973 he founded a museum of modern art at Ciudad, Bolivar.

Soto completed many public commissions and exhibited in major European and American Galleries.

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