São Paulo, Brasil
15/04/2023 - 26/08/2023
A pioneer of kinetic art, the Venezuelan visual artist Jesús Rafael Soto focused on his creation on the search for movement in his works. The artist innovated by creating pieces that seemed to have a life of their own and were instigated by mobility, dynamics, and vibration. Celebrating the artist’s centennial, DAN Galeria, which celebrates 50 years of experience and has represented Soto since the 90s, occupies its two units in the capital of São Paulo with the exhibition Jesús Soto — Color, Form, Vibration, starting on April 15. The curator is signed by Franck James Marlot.
Music was part of Soto’s artistic life in the art world. He, who was initially inspired by Mondrian’s concrete structures and took on the challenge of creating a work that went beyond the aesthetic synthesis achieved by the artist, adding a new dimension, namely movement in art. Soto saw in the song the game with two layers composed of a constant rhythmic line and a variable melodic line, with relations between the two throughout the compositions.
It was thus, combining painting and music, that Soto, through the exploration of the aspect of abstract painting, first with overlays using the transparency of plexiglass, and then referring to the overlapping of sounds and rhythms, conceived the kinetic art technique in his works. His work challenges the frontier between art and scientific research, enabling a new interaction between the subject and the work.
The individual presented by DAN highlights 30 works by the artist produced between the 60s and the 2000s. The exhibition includes two works of architectural dimensions, exhibited for the first time in a gallery: Parallels (1990), and Penetrable BBL Jaune (1999). In addition to these, some works from the Vibrating Parallels series, others from the Syntheses series, and a selection of steel, aluminum, nylon, PVC, plexiglass and wood painting sculptures also occupy the exhibition space. The exhibition is the first individual held at the DAN Contemporary unit.
Penetrables are installations that look like a shower of metal or plastic bars suspended in the air. Although they can be observed by their external aspect, the Penetrables are completed only when experienced from within, where the viewer metamorphoses part of the work and activates it in its spatial and sound powers, giving life to an experience of space and time as a unit and duration, so that art becomes inexhaustible, as does the possibilities of investigating the relationship between the body and the world. The work was an innovative creation by the artist during the 60s.
Soto used to call the work “enveloping spaces”. According to the artist, it is necessary for “the body and mind of the person who is part of the work to lose the notion of three-dimensionality and feel immersed in a completely full space-time with the least possibility of external reference points, since the Penetrable is nothing more than a tiny warning of the immensity of the fullness of space-time”.
Curator Franck James Marlot comments about the works of the Venezuelan: “The viewer’s displacement causes visual effects of “moire” that give the illusion of a rapid rotational movement of the spiral. The movement appears without motorization. With this demonstration, Soto introduces the notion of space-time into his work, activated by the eye of the viewer, which develops not only spatial but also temporal dynamics. It is in this unique moment of dialogue in which the experience between the viewer and the work, the kinetic object, in its uniqueness, allows the infinite multiplication of points of view and creates a vibrant and moving image, implying broader visual experiences”.
Soto had been in a relationship with Brazil since his participation in the IV São Paulo Biennial in 1956 and again in 1959. But it was at the 7th Biennial, in 1963, that the artist gained recognition among Brazilians by winning the “Lobo Prize”, awarded to Latin American artists participating in the exhibition.
“In fact, no two experiences are the same when it comes to contact with Soto’s works. The retinal impression of the work on the observer will change according to the internal and external movement of the person who sees it. Therein lies the kineticism of the Venezuelan artist’s art: producing virtual, intangible vibrations that, based on the optical dimension, involve the entire body”, comments the art historian, Paula Braga.