Jesus-Rafael Soto

Jesús-Rafael Soto was a plastic artist (sculptor and painter), born on the 6th of June 1922, Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and deceased on the 14th of January 2005, Paris.

Soto is famous for his paintings and geometric constructions, playing with optic effects. Furthermore, he is one of the emblematic artists of Op Art / cinetic Art movements. Soto notably explored the question of the spectator involvement if his work with his "Pénétrables".

In 1950, Soto moved to Paris. He attented the conferences of the abstract art studio, founded by Jean Dewasne and Edgard Pillet.

In 1952, Soto collaborated with Otero, Calder, Léger, Pevsner, Laurens, Arp and others to the "Proyecto de Integración de las Artes" (art integration project) at the Venezuela Central University, directed by the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva; the project was conceived to integrate architecture in modern art.

In 1955, Soto took part in the exhibition "The Movement" at the gallery Denise René. During this time, he explored perceptual problems of the abstract-constructivism system, with the contribution of Vasarely, Agam, Tinguely and Julio Le Parc; his exploration got deeper when he discovered Marcel Duchamp's work. Soto developed a cinetic vocabulary. Besides, Soto experimented chromatic planes and the color convertible qualities, exploring the links between parallel lines and the figure, between the background and the foreground, in order to create movement in the paintings, tridimensional constructions and reliefs.

Soto created his first "Vibraciones" in 1958, paintings in which he incorporated movement in the bidimensional surface by a structural lines superimposition, suspended elements and geometric formes, producing optic vibrations when the spectator moves.

In 1963, Soto was howarded the "Lobo" Prize at the Sao Paulo Biennale, and in 1964 the D. Bright second prize at the Venice Biennale.

At the end of the 1960s, Soto created his "Pénétrables", composed of strings made of suspended flexible or metallic materials.

In 1973, Soto founded "el Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto" in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, with works on his collection. Villanueva conceived the museum's building.

Soto received in 1955 the Sculpture National Great Prize in France.