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.
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