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Jesús Rafael Soto
(Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, 1923 - 2005, Paris)
Born 1923, Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela; active 1943–50, Caracas, Venezuela; 1950–2004, Paris; died 2005, Paris.
Jesús Raphael Soto was an important member of the kinetic art movement in Venezuela during the 1950s and 1960s. Soto was influenced by the musically inspired work of Piet Mondrian. Like Mondrian, Soto wanted to translate musical rhythms into visual form, and attempted to do so in his Serial and Progression series of paintings made up of dots or squares arranged in geometric formations. Soto began to experiment with the visual effects of layering elements, sometimes placing a sheet of plexiglass with a design on it in front of an image, or hanging elements in front of the canvas. These works would appear differently as the viewer moved around them, thus requiring the viewer’s participation to complete the works’ effect. Soto also created a series of Penetrables that were large-scale installations formed by nylon filament or hollow tubes suspended from the ceiling in gridlike formations for the viewer to walk through, incorporating the sense of touch and, in the case of the tubes, sound.