Lightopia: Carlos Cruz Diez And The Happening Of Color
The Venezuelan artist who pioneered a unique direction in Art History.
“Ideas by themselves are intoxicating,” states Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz Diez, who materialized his theory of color to the point of prompting a new direction in the discourse of art––to the extent of changing Art History in itself. In his work, color left its state of rest and became a pure experience, a situation that evolves, a happening. In this sense, he is one of the last remaining Renaissance men, but also the first worker of his kind.
He not only invented a new phenomenology of color, but also built all the machines required for his pieces and created the supporting materials; he knew that if one wants to invent a new discourse, one must first invent the alphabet, the grammar and its rules. Perhaps his greatest merit is having set himself apart from other artists who have wanted to represent reality, and instead invent an autonomous reality that represents itself. Thus, his work is an exercise on how color can be perceived without interpretation or a pre-existing cultural knowledge––Without even perceiving “the hand of the artist”, as it is romantically procured. By projecting color into space, Cruz Diez allows it to be pure, without anecdotes or symbols, without being fixed in space and time. That is why instead of “pieces,” his works can be said to be a pure experience.
In Venezuela, Cruz Diez is identified as one of the most important modernist masters in the country, and in Europe, in the 1960s, his name became synonymous with the exploration of color’s kinetic potential. His series Fisicromías, which began in 1959, probably best defines his color phenomenology and the direction his work would take in the coming years. Each of these pieces is made with hundreds of strips of cardboard, aluminum, and plexiglass (which he cut himself), arranged in two collated levels: one flat, another in relief. This rhythm produces a vibration where the color appears to change and evolve depending on the light of the place and the spectator’s distance and angle. “The simpler one says things, the more it reaches people,” he says in an interview.
By experimenting with the immediacy of color disassociated from any narrative allusion, the spectator can rest––he is free from the burden of having to interpret a message or an ulterior concept. His work demonstrates what color is doing, and the formats or materials he uses are only the circumstances to show this, to allow color to flow in its natural behavior. In this way, Cruz Diez has bestowed on the world a type of art that challenges the traditional, romantic or intellectual relations between the artist, the spectator and perception. Thanks to him there exists a vibrant possibility to embrace the continuous transformation of color as a happening. Everything in his work is quicksand. There is nothing that is fixed in time, and yet––and here is their merit––something about them remains with the spectator and changes him.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now