Caracas, 1923 – Paris, 2019
Carlos Cruz-Diez spent his life as a passionate painter and enjoyed a very colorful life. Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1923, as a boy he loved drawing in class, playing at his father’s desk with his rubber stamp and observing the world around him.
At age 17 Cruz-Diez decided he wanted to be an artist and enrolled at the School of Fine Art, Caracas. Always the first student to arrive in the morning, he was ecstatic. In order to finance his studies he drew comics and after graduating worked in graphic design and as an illustrator, whilst developing his painting.
As an academic painter Cruz-Diez was very successful but the more he studied art history the more he understood he wasn’t inventing art. He wanted to change his path and chose the relatively unexplored path of color as his focus.
Cruz-Diez started to form his discourse and headed to Europe in 1955; first to El Masnou near Barcelona from which he travelled often to Paris, the place to be for artists and intellectuals. In Paris he was happy to discover that his thinking was in line with a lot of progressive artists from different countries. This group was creating a tendency that Vasarely called the kinetic art movement. Then briefly returned to Caracas thinking he could have more of an impact than in Europe where everything seemed to have already been done, but it was during his first exhibition in 1959 at the Fine Arts Museum of Caracas that he realized it was time to leave his country for good. People then just didn’t understand his art. In August 1960 Cruz-Diez took his family and headed for Paris, the epicentre of kinetic art.
Cruz-Diez continued making a living as a graphic designer, all the while experimenting further with what he had already identified in Caracas the previous year. 1961 signalled his arrival to the European stage when he took part in ‘Bewogen Beweging’, the first major exhibition on kinetic art, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. This was followed in 1964 by ‘Mouvement 2’ at Galerie Denise René in Paris and then in 1965 by ‘The Responsive Eye’ at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Soon he was in demand right across Europe, part of a group of artists changing art from something static into something that people could participate in. His first solo exhibition in Paris was at the Galerie Kerchache in 1965. To best manage his increasing work demands and ensure he could act on all the ideas in his head Cruz-Diez developed a way of accelerating his work rate by inventing tools to help him realize each artwork.
more information : https://www.cruzdiezartfoundation.org/