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Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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London

Carlos Cruz-Diez
B.1923
PHYSICHROMIE NO. 1936
signed, titled and dated Paris 2014 on the reverse
acrylic and laminated plastic on board
70.5 by 140.5 cm. 27 3/4 by 55 1/4 in.
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Provenance

Acquired from the artist by the present owner

Catalogue Note

As a central figure within the Kinetic art movement, Carlos Cruz-Diez’ oeuvre is suffused with the exploration of the physical possibilities of colour in multiple permutations. The present work, Physichromie No. 1936, encapsulates this intense engagement with the interaction of light and colour. As the artist said himself, “[Colour is] not simply the colour of things or the colour of form [but rather] an evolving situation, a reality which acts on the human being with the same intensity as cold, heat, and sound” (Carlos Cruz-Diez cited in: Estrellita B. Brodsky, ‘Carlos Cruz-Diez’, BOMB Magazine, No. 110, Winter 2010, online).

Constructed from carefully positioned vertical plastic strips painted in bold chromatic hues such as blue, pink and yellow, Physichromie No. 1936 appears to metamorphose before the eyes of the viewer. Dependent on the position and movement of the viewer, vibrant colours are stimulated and reflected onto neighbouring surfaces, creating harmonious rhythms of colours visible from different perspectives and modulations of light. In this way, by projecting colour into space, Cruz-Diez directly involves the viewer with his work, enabling them to experience the sensory possibilities of colour.

The shimmering of rainbow tones in Physichromie No. 1936 also harks back to Cruz-Diez’s childhood memories of Venezuelan sunrises and the fracturing of light through glass bottles in his father’s beverage factory, memories that inspired the artist to construct his first Physichromie work in 1959. As Cruz-Diez wrote: “I wanted my work to be a phenomenological situation where true colour would be liberated from all aesthetic and symbolic meaning, and would therefore reach its maximum potential” (Carlos Cruz-Diez, ‘Structure and Effectiveness of a Plastic Discourse’, in: Exh. Cat., Madrid, Fundación Juan March (and travelling), Reflection on Color, 2009, p. 146). As such, Physichromie No. 1936 perfectly embodies Cruz-Diez’s revolutionary engagement with colour, ultimately inducing mesmerising psychophysiological effects.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London