This week the art world lost a pioneer of Op and Kinetic Art in Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, who died at the age of 95 in Paris. His vibrant paintings and installations that shaped a movement and can be found around the world in museums and as public art.
Born in Caracas, as a young artist Cruz-Diez found himself bored by the prevalent Abstract Expressionism of the era. In his search to create something more dynamic, he began adhering strips of plastic to cardboard, creating abstract compositions that gave the impression of movement. Bringing the illusion of three-dimension to the two-dimensional pushed the boundaries of the canvas and how we define painting.
This combination of optical illusion and color theory would become known as Kinetic Art. Cruz-Diez would eventually work on aluminum, and his practice would expand to include massive installations called “Chromosaturations,” using neon lights to flood a space with intense color.
Throughout his career, Cruz-Diez immersed audiences in a world of color, inviting us to experience the visual world in a new way. His own interests in the ever-changing qualities of light and color, through his work, are contagious, and help us understand the limitations and boundlessness of our own perceptions.
Here are eight works from the late Carlos Cruz-Diez that celebrate color, from large installations to modest canvases.