Jesus Rafael Soto
Jesús Rafael Soto was a Venezuelan artist known for his kinetic sculptures and large-scale installations. Born on June 5, 1923 in Cuidad Bolívar, Venezuela, he studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Caracas from 1942–1947 and later served as the director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Maracaibo, Venezuela until his move to Europe in 1950. Settling in Paris, he associated with the Op Art artists Victor Vasarely and Yaacov Agam, as well as members of the ZERO group such as Otto Piene, Jean Tinguely, and Heinz Mack. In 1973, the Museo de Arte Modern Jesús Soto opened in his hometown of Ciudad Bolivar, focusing on his work and artists he admired, including Malevich and Man Ray. The artist died on January 14, 2005 in Paris, France at the age of 81. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, among others.
Soto’s sculptures and architectural interventions usually play with the juxtaposition of the notion of the solid and the void, blurring the distinction between reality and illusion, movement and stillness. For Soto, the work of art is inseparable to the experience, whether through the mobility of the piece itself, through optical movement, or through the intervention of the spectator.