More important, Soto would employ the same mechanisms as the great masters of Western Baroque musical composition, in which each melodic and harmonic line is painstakingly written to form a rational and perfect Gesamtkunstwerk, a complete work of art. In this series, the influence of Johannes Sebastian Bach is clearly evidenced in Soto’s disciplined structure of synchronized repetition, which reveals a severe precision that borders the illusion of impulsion and improvisation.
The Écritures (Writings) were the definitive turning point for Soto. It is in these works where “he invents an instrumental methodology, a vocabulary which served to make his message more understandable[…] Consisting of a separation of spaces between the several planes, the distance which separated them, and ultimately, the distance which separated the object from the viewer […] The work captured both the viewer and his imagination, because as he moved about, his movement caused him to be incorporated into the movement of the work.” (ibid, p. 22). In Double écriture noir et vert , a corpus of wires and seemingly levitating metal elements form graphic structures of elegant lineal expression, letters floating in space that appear and recede in an intimate, coded message from the artist to the viewer. Here, Soto draws from his origins as a painter, here specifically returning to the curved lines of his abstract canvases from 1950-1951 while also evoking solemn references to the musically derived Composition paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, where groupings of colors and geometric shapes form a visual digest of melodic chords. On the eve of his November 1974 Guggenheim retrospective, Soto best described his Écritures, “for me, they are a way of drawing in space […] had I been a painter in the 18th Century, it’s perfectly possible that instinctively, my hand would have drawn the same lines, but even with this freedom, I still continue to retain a structure to control the elements within…” (Claude-Luis Renard, “Excerpts from an Interview with Soto, Paris, 1974” in Soto: A Retrospective Exhibition, New York, 1974, p. 17)
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