Carlos Cruz-Diez spent his life as a passionate painter and enjoyed a very colorful life. Born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1923, as a boy he loved drawing in class, playing at his father’s desk with his rubber stamp and observing the world around him. At age 17 Cruz-Diez decided he wanted to be an artist and enrolled at the School of Fine Art, Caracas. As an academic painter Cruz-Diez was very successful but the more he studied art history the more he understood he wasn’t inventing art. He wanted to change his path and chose the relatively unexplored path of color as his focus.
Cruz-Diez started to form his discourse and headed to Europe in 1955; first to El Masnou near Barcelona from which he travelled often to Paris, the place to be for artists and intellectuals. In Paris he was happy to discover that his thinking was in line with a lot of progressive artists from different countries. This group was creating a tendency that Vasarely called the kinetic art movement.
Eventually Cruz-Diez came to the realization that color had never been the subject of any artistic discourse. Always dismissed as a mere consequence of form, it spurred him on to further study the eye, perception of color and the way light changes. Gradually Cruz-Diez developed his discourse; that of color in space, devoid of form. His canvas’ reflect the ever-changing, ephemeral, and mobile nature of color unlike the work of the Impressionists, which showcased the changing color of light but only in a motionless way that was in the past, not the present. He uses lines because it is the most efficient tool, devoid of symbolism and leaving only color without anecdote. Therefore color becomes a matter of personal preference, which is an emotional connection. Viewers connect with the color and through this find a poetry in his work.
Cruz-Diez was not only an innovator but an inventor. He was always creating, always looking for new solutions to better represent his research on color, and constantly inventing tools, and reimagining existing tools for his own purposes. Cutting-edge technology allowed him to create things he conceived of in the 1960s but couldn’t build at the time.
To date Cruz-Diez has been featured in 1544 collective exhibitions, 351 solo exhibitions, has constructed 177 architectural works, received 78 awards, created 101 ephemeral events and has works on display in the permanent collection of 96 museums. All of which in 70 countries, and counting.