Jesus Rafael Soto (Venezuelan, 1923-2005)
Signed and dated "Soto 1968" on the reverse, identified on a label from
Marlborough Galleria d'Arte, Rome, affixed to the reverse.
Painted wood, steel and nylon construction, 30 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 12 5/8 in. (77.5 x 32.4 x 32.1 cm).
Condition: Replaced strings to sixteen rods.
Provenance: Collection of Melvin B. Nessel, Boston, Massachusetts.
N.B. Soto began working on his "Vibration" series in 1958, which consisted of metal elements suspended in front of an opaque background covered with thin lines. Soto developed several cycles of work from this series, and in 1965, began his "Vibrations horizontals"--cascades of lines suspended from threads--of which the present work is an example.
While Soto shared the same concerns with Bauhaus artists in exploring the subjectivity of color and the nature of perception, he maintained that his work was not simply optical art, because it addressed the dimensions of space and time.
With his "Vibrations" series, Soto was looking for "the transformation of matter". Soto noted, "For a motor, I have never used anything but the eye…what interests me is to guide the artwork toward movement…Taking an element, a line, a bit of wood or metal, and transforming it into pure light…transforming it into vibrations. Making a solid material into something ethereal: this is my present concern." (1)
Soto's approach to sculpture became the most viewer-responsive by the late 1960s, culminating in the creation of "Penetrables" which were hovering, illusionistic cubes that spectators were encouraged to move within and without.
(1) Soto. http://www.jr-soto.com/savie_bio_1965_uk.html.
Sixteen rods are suspended by nylon string, instead of the original wire string, with two broken wires, fine craquelure to the paint on both platform and backing boards, painted lines with some variation (i.e. not a screen print), one area of retouch to platform approx. 1/2 x 1/4 in.