This week I visited Carlos Cruz-Diez’s work exhibited in the Odalys Gallery. The gallery will feature his work until December 15, but there’s a possibility that it will extend for a couple of extra months, they say.
Cruz-Diez and Kinetic Art
“My job is to show that color is the perfection of an instant”
Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas on August 17, 1923. He is one of the highest representatives of Op and Kinetic art.
Kinetic art promotes the stimulation of the sense of sight through visual effects. It seeks to break away with the static condition of painting and sculpture through the optical illusion of depth, tridimensionality, and movement. The key parts are the use of color, light, and shadow.
The first exhibition of Kinetic art took place in 1955 in the gallery Denise René, and it was titled “Le mouvement” (“The Movement”). Works by Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Pol Bury, Yaacov Agam, Jean Tinguely, Victor Vasarely, Yves Klein, and Jesús Rafael Soto were exhibited. Several groups of Kinetic artists emerged henceforth this exhibition, such as: Equipo 57 –Team 57– (1957), Grupo Zero –Group Zero– (1958), and Visual Art Research Group (1960).
Cruz-Diez has been researching and working on proposals on color for more than sixty years. He states that: “The substantive character of color is the concept and starting point of my plastic discourse. I propose the autonomous color without anecdotes, devoid of symbologies; the color seen as an ephemeral situation and in constant mutation. In my works the spectator discovers that he can create color with his own perceptive means.”
Living in a Work of Art, Chromatic Environment Montalbán 11
The exhibition shows a project of chromatic environment that the artist is currently developing in an important building of Madrid. In Montalbán 11, Cruz-Diez’s work of art will merge harmoniously with the architecture, turning the structure into a monumental and habitable piece of art. Thanks to the building’s historical character and its refurbishment, this architectural work is destined to become part of the artistic heritage of the city.
The most important contribution of Cruz-Diez is, in fact, not in museums, but in streets, boulevards, and gardens. His works always establish a dialogue with the architecture and urbanism surrounding them.
Kinetic Art and Fashion
Based on the thought that fashion is a moving picture (andante moderato), several fashion designers have been inspired by Kinetic art to create their own collections. For example, Carolina Herrera, also Venezuelan, filled her spring-summer 2014 collection with optical illusion garments and prints that seemed to be dancing with each other. In 2012, Marc Jacobs (still in Vuitton) embraced Op Art in his sixties collections.
My Approach to Cruz-Diez
I got to know Cruz-Diez’s work 10 years ago in an exhibition that took place in the National Museum of Art Reina Sofía. It was exhibited along Jesús Rafael Soto’s and Victor Varela’s.
I’m organizing my daughters a visit to the exhibition and a workshop in which we’ll exercise the “know how to look” that rules Cruz-Diez’ work. Drawing, color, and paper are its main ingredients. Would you like me to share it with you?
Photography: Olha Turukina
Stylism: Carolina Verd
Red-wine velvet dress: Disco Forest Zara Studio 2016