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PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT COLLECTION

Jesús Rafael Soto
CURVAS BLANCAS
JUMP TO LOT
62

PROPERTY FROM A PROMINENT COLLECTION

Jesús Rafael Soto
CURVAS BLANCAS
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

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London

Jesús Rafael Soto
1923 - 2005
CURVAS BLANCAS
painted metal rods, nylon thread and wood
100 by 100 by 39.7 cm. 39 3/8 by 39 3/8 by 15 5/8 in.
Executed in 1976.
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Provenance

The Artist

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

A visionary presence in Europe and the United States throughout the latter half of the Twentieth Century, Jesús Rafael Soto was the prototypical artist-engineer. From a studied appreciation of how pictorial, illusionary space functioned in the works of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, Soto’s breakthrough practice extracted the fundamental principles that underpinned the evolution of Modernism – the flattening of the picture plane and the objectification of painting – into an aesthetic vocabulary that challenged the conventions of the genre. Curvas Blancas, executed in 1976 – two years after Soto’s mid-career retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York – is an exceptional example of Soto’s artistic project; meditating on line and form, the present work expresses the frenzy of a gestural sketch with the serene architecture that typifies the artist’s oeuvre. Regarded as one of the founding fathers of Kinetic art, the Venezuelan-born Soto was a pioneer involved closely with the avant-gardist developments of the Nouveaux Realistes in Paris, led by Yves Klein, and the Dusseldorf-based ZERO group, founded by Heinz Mack and Otto Piene. Soto’s practice is unmistakably unique, synthesising Euclidean geometry and the spatio-temporal equivalences of Albert Einstein’s Relativity with the formal language of Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. What emerges is a near-scientific demonstration of aesthetic refinement, an immaculate illustration of Soto’s profound advancements in contemporary art.

Moving to Paris in 1950 at the age of 27, Soto’s commitment to defining a new set of visual terms led him to 'dynamize' those works by Mondrian that meant most to [him], since [Soto] decided the problem was one of giving them movement” (Jesús Rafael Soto in conversation with Claude-Louis Renard in: Exh. Cat., New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Soto: A Retrospective Exhibition, 1974, p. 14). The dynamism that is central to Soto’s research is necessarily linked to his Modernist predecessors, but the artist was in devoted dialogue with his contemporaries who shared his relentless determination to explore new terrain – appealing to Alexander Calder’s mobiles and closely linked to Lucio Fontana’s tagli. Where the formal rigidity of Cubism and geometric painting had reached its zenith, in Curvas Blancas Soto advances into an expanded field of painting, the curvilinear batons tracing a multidimensional arc across the flat plane of the panel and projecting forth into the real space of the spectator. In a fantastic contradistinction to Fontana, who pierced the canvas to access the fictional space beyond, not only did Soto’s work shatter the figure-ground of traditional painting, but it redefined such spatial terms through phenomenological experience. As art historian Ariel Jiménez notes, “much of what makes Soto’s structures interesting is… what they suggest or attempt to make visible: the dimension, as such, of the sublime” (Ariel Jiménez, Jesús Soto in Conversation with Ariel Jiménez, New York 2011, p. 34). The optically illusory nature of Curvas Blancas produces a mesmeric, dematerialised and incessantly shifting structure; transfiguring the energy of geometric and Cubist linearity into a weightless framework of darting particles.

Contemporary Art Evening Auction

|
London