Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour
20.03.17 – 25.05.17
Puerta Roja is delighted to present Mastering Colour – the first solo gallery exhibition in Hong Kong by Franco-Venezuelan artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez. Hailed as one of the founders of the Op-Art and Kinetic movements of the 1950s, Cruz-Diez is part of more than 60 major museum collections worldwide and has been well appreciated in the Asia Pacific region since the 1980s, showcasing significant public commissions and exhibitions in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
With Mastering Colour, Puerta Roja, introduces some of the most refined works by the artist to the region, capturing over six decades of tireless research into colour, line and perception, as well as experimentation with new materials and technologies.
Described as a “master of visual effect, a creator of art with connections to many movements and ‘isms’” by the Wall Street Journal, Carlos Cruz-Diez has had a profound influence on artists around the world, including Chinese performance artist and photographer Liu Bolin. Recent large-scale grid structures from his celebrated Physichromie series, which Cruz-Diez began in 1959, seemingly depict a flat surface of vertical bands rendered in a contrasting palette and arranged with mathematical regularity into multiple geometric planes. As the viewer moves around the works, their colour dissolves and radically oscillates from one chromatic range to another, generating new ranges of colour not present, but based on individual visual perception. Yet behind the spectacle and ethereality of the works lies rigorous scientific research and painstaking method. Each structure is carefully designed to create what Cruz-Diez calls a “light trap” in a space where a series of colour frames interact and transform each other as they are seen from different angles.
Like Physichromie, other influential series on show at Puerta Roja, such as Induction Chromatique and Couleur Additive, can be seen as live experiments that create an infinitely evolutionary situation of additive, reflective, inductive and subtractive colour. The destabilisation of the eye in Cruz-Diez’s work serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it sets out to explore the physical effects of colour on the viewer, transforming their experience of art from passive into active. On the other hand, it encourages the viewer to experience colour as equivocal and continually changing, much as it is experienced in nature.
Commenting on the works that will be on exhibition at the gallery, Cruz-Diez says: “I speak about realities not to imitate them but to provoke them. The Physichromies are an invention to express myself with the delight of a painter in action, in which ‘the making of the painting’ can be observed, stripped from traditional concepts and techniques. The colour that reaches the eyes has been painted and remains suspended in time; my pieces, on the contrary, confront viewers with colour created in the instant, in real time.”
Carlos Cruz-Diez: Mastering Colour will also feature a site-specific installation and interactive elements that will further challenge the visitors’ experience of colour and perception.
“We are honoured not only to have this exhibition for one of the most influential artist of the 20th century at Puerta Roja, but also present his iconic oeuvre to the Hong Kong audiences, strengthening our programming to further enhance the awareness of Latin-American contemporary artists in the Asia-Pacific region” says Adriana Alvarez-Nichol, Founder of the gallery.
We are thankful to Robin Peckham for his contribution to the exhibition catalogue, an insightful and unique viewpoint into the world of Carlos Cruz-Diez from the perspective of today’s Asia Pacific. To view the full catalogue please click here.
The exhibition opens to the public on 18 March and will be celebrated on 20 March as part of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association’s “Art Gallery Night” in conjunction with SOHO 189 ArtLane, which brings together Leo Gallery, Galerie Huit, Pearl Lam and Puerta Roja. Since its grand opening during Art Basel week in March 2015, SOHO 189 Art Lane has become one of the city’s most exciting and diverse art destinations for local and international collectors as well as the general public. Mastering Colour runs through May 25, as a special project of Le French May programme.