Carlos Cruz Diez
(Caracas, Venezuela, 1923)
Since 1950´s Cruz-Diez, a painter, sculptor, and graphic designer has worked consistently on the study of color, stemming from his own theory about color’s unstable nature. He questions the relationship we have with the perception of color and its visual experience in both, art and life. He works in a great variety of formats, from small intimate color studies to monumental urban structures, as well as visual interventions in urban spaces and architectural integration projects. He is one of the most important representatives of the Kinetic art movement. Cruz-Diez has consistently based his whole body of work in eight different research projects that analyse the many different ways color acts upon our perception: Additive Color, Physichromie, Chromatic Inductions, Transchromie, Chromatic Interferences, Chromosaturation, Chromoscope, and Color in Space. His work is entirely based on the analysis of the multiple variations of the spectator´s engagement and perception, physical or optical, according to the movement and experience of the viewer, rather than the movement of the art object itself.
Carlos Cruz-Diez studied at the School of Fine Arts in Caracas, where he obtained the diploma of professor in Applied Arts. Soon after, he began working and illustrating for advertising agencies and publications. In an early trip to Europe, in 1955 he visited the Denis René gallery and became familiar with the Kinetic and optical movement in geometric art. Upon return to Venezuela, he begins teaching at the Visual Arts Studio, and works as a Painting professor at the School of Fine Arts, while exhibiting his work in solo and collective shows. He settles permanently in Paris in 1960 and begins one of the most prolific careers in Geometric Abstraction, with his studies about color, geometry and perception. He has exhibited in the most important art museums and institutions worldwide including Museum of Modern Art, the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, the Americas Society’s Art Gallery, New York, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil, the Miami Art Museum, among many others.
Cruz-Diez has been commissioned to create important integrated architectural works such as Venezuela’s Simon Bolívar International Airport, the Place du Venezuela in Paris France, the Raúl Leon Power Plant in Guri, Venezuela, at the Olympic Park in Seoul, South Corea, as well as in Madrid, Puerto Rico, Houston and most recently, the Marlins Ballpark in Miami, US.
Cruz-Diez has been awarded prestigious honors, such as the International Painting Prize from the Biennale de Sao Paolo, the National Art Award from Venezuela, Order Andrés Bello, First Class, Venezuela, the Order National de la Légion d’Honneur, Officer grade, France, among others. He holds two Honorary Doctorates from Universidad Simon Bolívar and Universidad de Los Andes, both in Venezuela. In 1997, the Museum of Stamp and Design in Caracas was named after him, for his dedication to the visual arts. In 2011 he held his most important retrospective exhibition to date at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, US. His work is represented in the finest museums and private collections of the world including Museum of Modern Art, New York, US, Tate Modern, London, UK, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Dr. Peter Ludwig Collection, Cologne, Germany, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo of Bogotá, Colombia, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, and Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, Venezuela, to name a few. He resides between Paris, Caracas and Panamá.