Jesús Rafael Soto installations

Sculptor Jesús Rafael

Jesús Rafael (June 5, 1923 – January 17, 2005) was a Venezuelan op and kinetic artist, a sculptor and a painter.

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Born in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, in 1923, Jesús Rafael Soto was one of the leading exponents of Kinetic art – art that moves or appears to move. He contributed to the emergence of the Kinetic art movement, by taking part in the 1955 exhibition Le Mouvement at Denise René’s gallery, and exhibited with the ZERO Group, who were also exploring the notion of the immaterial.

The viewer is central to Soto’s œuvre. In 1967 he produced his first Penetrables, works composed of metal rods and nylon strands hanging in space. He invites the viewer to enter the work and walk around inside it, to apprehend the “matter-energy” of the world through “being” inside the work:

“The viewer becomes an integral part of the work. Heretofore, the viewer was in the position of an external observer of reality. Today, the notion that there is mankind on one side and the world on the other has been superseded. We are not observers but constituent parts of a reality that we know to be teeming with living forces, many of them invisible. We exist in the world like fish in water: not detached from matter-energy; INSIDE, not IN FRONT OF; no longer viewers, but participants.”.

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‘Spaghetti jungle’ by Jesus Rafael Soto at the Blanton Museum of Art, Houston, Texas
Penetrable by Jesús Rafael Soto at Olana State Historic Site in New York State
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