Jesús Rafael Soto

  • Born 1923 in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela
  • Died 2005 in Paris, France

The body of work by Jesús Rafael Soto’s synthesized abstraction, visual perception, and participation. He first studied art in Caracas, but moved to Paris in 1950, where he met op artist Victor Vasarely (1906–1997) and kinetic sculptor Jean Tinguely (1925–1991). Soto first showed at the Galerie Denise René a in the 1955 exhibition Le Mouvement (The Movement), which also included work by the Dadaist artist Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968). Soto’sEspiral con Red (Spiral with Red) comprised a solid and transparent sculptural layer painted with concentric forms that seemed to vibrate before one’s eyes—a reference to Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs (1935). From 1951 to 1968, Soto participated in the Salon des réalités nouvelles, a yearly survey in Paris focusing on abstract art. In 1958 his work was featured in the Venezuelan pavilions at both the Brussels World’s Fair (Expo ’58) and the Venice Biennale. In 1964, Soto was included in Documenta Kassel and again in the Venice Biennale. His breakthrough sculpture series, the “Pénétrables” (The Penetrables; 1967–97) consists of vinyl or metal tubes, hung from a gridwork, which viewers can pass through. His hometown of Ciudad Bolívar opened a museum dedicated to his work in 1973.

Artworks by Jesús Rafael Soto in the exhibition