The Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, who died earlier this year at the age of 95, was considered by many to have been one of the greatest artistic innovators of the 20th century. His seven-decades-long career reflected his understanding that color is not a certainty but a circumstance, and that it evolves continuously in time and space. He explored the kinetic energy of color through geometric abstraction and a vivid repetitive palette, continuously challenging perception.
The upcoming exhibition at Dep Art Gallery, the first to take place after the artist's recent death, will trace the main steps of his journey and highlight the originality of his research. Titled Carlos Cruz-Diez. Color as an Event of Spaces, it will bring together sixteen of his major works, including works from five of his most significant series - Couleur Additive, Physichromie, Induction Chromatique, Chromointerférence, Couleur à l'Espace - as well as an interactive artwork specifically adapted for the spaces of the Milanese gallery, Pyramide d'Interferences Chromatiques from 2018.
Considered one of the main exponents of Kinetic and Op-Art, Carlos Cruz-Diez established himself as one of 20th century leading thinkers in the field of color. Moving away from figuration, he began to experiment with light and color in the 1950s, breaking new ground in color optics.
Understanding color as a real material that gives the possibility of creating an autonomous emotional space, he created works where the spatial event materializes before our eyes and is continually reconfigured through our perceptive-sensory dynamics. Characterized by the bright dynamism of color, in a continuous vibration determined by the mutual relations of addition and subtraction, reflexes and interferences, saturations and projections, these immersive paintings and installations set color in motion, stirring overpowering bodily sensations in the viewer.
The title of the show reflects Cruz-Diez's perceptive investigation of color as not only the element of artwork but as a real event.
In this regard, the audience will have an opportunity to see the works from the Couleur Additive series, which are based on color radiation where the points of contact between two colors form darker vertical lines that have not been laid by the artist.
The artist also explored the perceptive possibilities of color in the physical and concrete space of the sensory experience, most notably in his Physichromie, a structure designed to unlock its additive, reflective and subtractive qualities. This structure, which presents one of the highlights of the show, projects colors that create an atmosphere that varies with the intensity and position of the light and with the position and distance of the viewer.
Among highlights is also the series Couleur à l'Espace, represented with two works in the exhibition, where Cruz-Diez experimented with the irradiated color. By placing a metal rod on the multi-colored surface, he created a spectrum of new colors that change based on the viewer's position and lighting conditions.
Organized in collaboration with Articruz, Carlos Cruz-Diez. Colore come evento di spazi will be on view at Dep Art Gallery in Milan from October 9th, 2019 until January 21st, 2020. The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, October 8th, from 6 p.m.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog in two languages – Italian and English - with a critical essay by Francesca Pola.
Featured image: Carlos Cruz-Diez - Cromointerferencia Mecànica Nova 6 (detail), 1975-2016, 81 x 81 x 17,5 cm. All images courtesy of Dep Art Gallery.