Jesús Rafael Soto|
(b. Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, 1923 - d. Paris, France 2005).
Soto is recognized for his sculptural work that deals with issues of depicting motion, space and kinetic movement. His involvement with the visual arts began with a job he got painting signs for the local cinema in Ciudad Bolivar. His work painting led to a scholarship to attend the Cristobal Rojas School of Fine and Applied Arts in Caracas. There he met fellow artists Alejandro Otero and Carlos Cruz-Diez. After graduating he began teaching and was appointed director of the School of fine arts in Maracaibo in 1949. He was awarded a government scholarship to travel to Paris in 1950. His work was well received in Paris and he exhibited at the Salon des Realites in 1951.
Between 1950 and 1952 he created the first works in which elements in space placed in series produced effects of virtual movement and optical vibration. Soto was a special guest of the 1966 Venice Biennial and participated in the 1996 Sao Paulo Biennial. In 1969, for his retrospective at the Musee d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the artist constructed the first of his large Penetrables, environments of hanging plastic or metal tubes that could be entered and displaced by the spectator. He completed many public commissions, including murals for the UNESCO building in Paris in 1970. Soto was instrumental in establishing the Museo de Arte Moderno Jesus Soto in Ciudad Bolivar in 1973. The monumental Esfera Virtual, for the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seoul, South Korea, was installed in 1988. One-person exhibitions of his work have been held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1968; the Fundacion Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, 1971; the Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, 1972; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1974; the Palacio de Velazquez, Madrid, 1982; the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas, 1983; the Center for the Fine Arts, Miami, 1985; and the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan, 1990. Soto's work has been included in major group exhibitions throughout the world including the 1963 Sao Paulo Bienal; the 1964 and 1966 Venice Biennales; and in Latin American Artists of the Twentieth Century, Centre George Pompidou, Paris, and Museum of Modern Art, New York 1992.
In this conversation from 2001, art collector and LatinArt.com founding president Dr. Hector Ziperovich speaks with the artist in Caracas about his life-long exploration of abstraction.