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HomePage Artists

b. 1923, Venezuela

Carlos Cruz-Diez Biography

The Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (Caracas, 1923) has lived and worked in Paris since 1960. He is a major protagonist in the field of Kinetic and Optical art, a movement that encourages 'an awareness of the instability of reality.'1

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Carlos Cruz-Diez graduated from the School of Visual Arts and Applied Arts, Caracas, in 1945. While still at art school, he worked as an illustrator for popular Venezuelan newspapers and magazines such as La Esfera, Elite, and El Farol. From 1946 to 1955, he was the creative director at the Caracas branch of McCann-Erickson, the international advertising agency, and contributed illustrations to the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional.

He first went to Europe in 1955 and lived in El Masnou (Cataluña, Spain), where he began a defining phase in his career, creating his earliest abstract compositions (Parénquimas) and his first Objetos Rítmicos Móviles [Mobile Rhythmic Objects]. He visited Paris that same year, where he saw the Le Mouvement exhibition at the Galerie Denise René. In 1956 he quit producing figurative social protest painting and returned to Venezuela, where he opened the Estudio de Artes Visuales, a visual arts studio for graphic and industrial design. It was during that period that Carlos Cruz-Diez started developing the conceptual platform for his work based on optical and chromatic phenomena, a process that led to the creation of his first Color Aditivo [Additive Color] and Fisicromía 1, in 1959. He and his family settled in Paris in 1960, where he met and discussed his ideas with international artists such as Agam, Tinguely, Soto, Buri, Picelj, Morellet, Camargo, Lygia Clark, Le Parc, Calder, and Vasarely.

Carlos Cruz-Diez articulated his exploration of the phenomenon of colour in eight projects: Couleur Additive [Additive Color], Physichromie, Induction Chromatique [Chromatic Induction], Chromointerférence [Chromo-Interference], Transchromie, Chromosaturation, Chromoscope, and Couleur à l’Espace [Color in Space]. His works present colour as an autonomous reality that evolves in space and time, unaided by form or support, in a perpetual present. In the late 1960s, he produced a number of installations for urban landscapes in Caracas, Miami, Washington, Houston, Paris, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Panama, and Madrid, among other metropolitan areas. In his book Reflexión sobre el color [Reflection on Color] (Caracas, 1989), he clearly and succinctly outlines the evolution of his pictorial and theoretical process.

After settling in Paris, Carlos Cruz-Diez showed his work at several historic exhibitions, such as Bewogen Beweging at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1961), and The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (1965). In 1968, he presented his first Chromosaturation at the Cinétisme, spectacle, environment exhibition at the Maison de la Culture in Grenoble, France. In 1970, he took part in the XXXV Venice Biennial, where he had his own solo show at the Venezuelan Pavilion. Carlos Cruz-Diez. Color in Space and Time, the exhibition organised by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in 2011, was the most complete retrospective of his work that had ever been assembled. In 2013, he was among the most distinguished artists to participate in the exhibition Dynamo. Un siècle de lumière et de mouvement dans l’art. 1913—2013, at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. In 2014, he created a Chromatic Environment for the exhibition Cruz-Diez. Color Espacial at the Centro Niemeyer, Spain. Then in 2016, he took part in the exhibition Eye Attack. Op Art and Kinetic Art 1950—1970 at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Lately, the SCAD Museum of Art brought his chromatic investigations to the forefront with the solo exhibition Chroma (2017).

Over the course of his career, Carlos Cruz-Diez has received many prestigious awards and medals, such as the Grand Prize at the III American Art Biennale in Cordoba (Argentina, 1966), the International Prize for Painting at the IX Sao Paulo Biennial (Brazil, 1967), and the Order of Andrés Bello, First Class (Venezuela, 1981). He was named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (France, 2002), and Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor (France, 2012), and was given an honorary Doctorate by the Universidad Central (Venezuela, 2014). He was most recently named SCAD deFINE ART honoree (USA, 2017).

In 2005, his family created the Cruz-Diez Foundation, whose mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and research his artistic and conceptual legacy. In 2014, the Foundation published his memoirs, Vivir en Arte, recuerdos de lo que me acuerdo [Living in Art: Memories of What I Remember].

Current Exhibition | Milano
9 October 2019–21 January 2020

Colore come evento di spazi

Exhibition view: Carlos Cruz-Diez, Colore come evento di spazi, Dep Art Gallery, Milan (9 October 2019–21 January 2019). Courtesy Dep Art Gallery. 

Carlos Cruz-Diez Featured Artworks

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Color aditivo Panam 3 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezColor aditivo Panam 3, 2010Chromography reported on aluminium, 8 pieces
60 x 80 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Cromointerferencia espacial 36 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezCromointerferencia espacial 36, 1964/2015Chromography on aluminium, elastic cord
100 x 100 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Physichromie Panam 80 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezPhysichromie Panam 80, 2012Chromography on aluminium, plastic inserts
50 x 75 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Color al Espacio Avila 1 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezColor al Espacio Avila 1, 2016Chromography reported on aluminium and metal rod, 3 pieces
80 x 80 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Physichromie Panam 232 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezPhysichromie Panam 232, 2015Chromography on aluminium, plastic inserts
50 x 90 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Induccion del Amarillo ABC 2 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezInduccion del Amarillo ABC 2, 2015Chromography reported on aluminium, 8 pieces
70 x 70 cm
Dep Art Gallery Enquire about this work
Germania 3 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezGermania 3, 2018From a series of three screenprints on 300gsm BFK paper
100.1 x 100.1 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery Enquire about this work
Germania 2 by Carlos Cruz-Diez contemporary artwork
Carlos Cruz-DiezGermania 2, 2018From a series of three screenprints on 300gsm BFK paper
100.1 x 100.1 cm
Cristea Roberts Gallery Enquire about this work

Carlos Cruz-Diez Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Colore come evento di spazi at Dep Art Gallery, Milano
Closing Soon
9 October 2019–21 January 2020 Carlos Cruz-Diez Colore come evento di spazi Dep Art Gallery, Milano
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Interaction of Colour at Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Closed
7 September–26 October 2019 Group Exhibition Interaction of Colour Cristea Roberts Gallery, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Labyrinthus at La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels
Closed
26 April–27 July 2019 Carlos Cruz-Diez Labyrinthus La Patinoire Royale – galerie Valérie Bach, Brussels

Carlos Cruz-Diez Represented By

Carlos Cruz-Diez In Related Press

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Announces 7 Site-Specific Installations Related Press Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Announces 7 Site-Specific Installations 5 December 2019, The New York Times

The artists are El Anatsui, Byung Hoon Choi, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Olafur Eliasson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Cristina Iglesias and Ai Weiwei, and they were commissioned to create a mix of sculptures, light installations and suspended artworks for the 14-acre premises, known as the Susan and Fayez S. Sarofim Campus.

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Carlos cruz-diez. Colore come evento di spazi Related Press Carlos cruz-diez. Colore come evento di spazi 10 October 2019, Milano Today

Si svolge alla Dep Art Gallery di Milano, a partire dal 9 ottobre, la prima mostra personale di Carlos Cruz-Diez dopo la sua recente scomparsa. Fino al 21 gennaio 2020 la mostra Carlos Cruz-Diez. Colore come evento di spazi –realizzata in collaborazione con Articruz–ripercorre attraverso sedici grandi opere le fasi salienti del percorso...

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CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ (1923–2019) Related Press CARLOS CRUZ-DIEZ (1923–2019) 30 July 2019, Artforum

Carlos Cruz-Diez, whose vibrating polychromatic abstractions plumbed the atmospheric and phenomenological effects of color, died in Paris on Saturday at age ninety-five. Born in 1923 in Caracas, Cruz-Diez enrolled at the city's School of Plastic and Applied Arts in 1940.

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In memoriam: Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923-2019) Related Press In memoriam: Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923-2019) 30 July 2019, Wallpaper*

Born in Caracas in 1923, Carlos Cruz-Diez discovered a love of drawing as a child, enrolling at age 17 at the city's School of Fine Art, where his peers included Jesús Rafael Soto and Alejandro Otero, who alongside Cruz-Diez would become the foremost Venezuelan artists of the 20th century.

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