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.
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