b. 1923, Caracas, Venezuela
Carlos Cruz-Diez has dedicated his life to the research of colour, lines and perception. Considered one of the precursors of the Optical and Kinetic art movement from the 1950s, his work is considered a canon in the contemporary art stage and continues to influence art culture around the world.
Cruz-Diez is internationally considered a Master of the 20th and 21st centuries for his contributions to the theory and practice of colour. Since his first solo exhibition at the Venezuelan-American Institute in Caracas in 1947, his participation in MoMA’s polemical 1965 show of then-new Op Art movement and representing Venezuela at the Venice Biennale, he has participated in hundreds of exhibitions and retrospectives around the world.Cruz Diez describes his discourse as “Art of Real Movement and Space”. His research into the additive, reflective, and subtractive effects of colour, shows that perception of a chromatic phenomenon does not rely on form. Beyond formal research, for the artist, colour is an experience in itself that can be perceived and enjoyed without interpretation or knowledge. Through interaction, the viewer becomes an accomplice to the artist, an essential participant in the artwork itself.
Carlos Cruz-Diez’ works have become part of the most prominent public collections including, amongst others, MoMA, Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de París, Kunstmuseum (Switzerland); Wallraf-Richartz Museum (Germany); The Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. The artist has also executed numerous large-scale public projects and architectural interventions around the world. Most recently, Cruz-Diez installed a 500 m2 public artwork outside the Centre Pompidou-Metz in Paris as part of the Constellations de Metz festival and the 2018 exhibition, L’aventure de la couleur. Furthermore, the artist was prominently featured at Art Basel, Switzerland 2018 with the entire UBS Art Basel VIP lounge dedicated to his architectural work from 1979, Environnement Chromatique, as well as exhibiting his large-scale installation work Translucent Chromointerferent Environment as part of Unlimited.
Cruz-Diez’ work has been well appreciated in Asia Pacific since 1988 when Physichromie Double Face was installed in the Olympic Park in South Korea. He has held multiple museum exhibitions, most notably the touring exhibition Circumstance and Ambiguity of Colour, at the Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing; Fudan Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Shanghai; Academy of Art, Hangzhou; Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum, Nanjing; and Henan Art Museum, Zhengzhou. He has also exhibited at Guangdong Museum of Art and the Beijing Art Museum of Imperial City in China; the Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery; the National Museum of Contemporary Art Deoksugung, the Jeonbuk Province Art Museum and the Sang Sang Tok Tok Gallery in South Korea; and, The National Art Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tokyo, well as museums in the cities of Himeji, Urawa, Okish, Tsukuba, Nagoya and Hyogo.
Over the course of his career, Carlos Cruz-Diez has received many prestigious awards including the International Prize for Painting at the IX Sao Paulo Biennial. He was bestowed as Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour in France. He also received an honorary Doctorate by the Universidad Central of Venezuela. In 2014 he was guest of honour at the Royal Academy of Arts and the following year he was awarded the Turner Medal in London. In 2016 he received the International Trebbia Award in Prague, and he is the SCAD deFINE ART 2017 Honouree.
At 95, Cruz Diez remains a very active artist, tirelessly expanding his research into colour, using new technologies and open to collaborations with younger artists who admire his work, such as Liu Bolin. Creative brands such as Prada have paid tribute to his legacy by featuring one of his most celebrated artworks the “Physichromies”. The Physichromie is a structure designed to reveal certain circumstances and conditions related to colour, changing according to the movement of the viewer and the intensity of the light, and thus projecting colour into space to create an evolutionary situation of additive, reflective, and subtractive colour.
Puerta Roja represents the work of Carlos Cruz Diez in Asia since 2016.