Regarded as one of the founding fathers of Kinetic art, Venezuelan-born Jesús Rafael Soto left for Paris in 1950 at the age of 27 to further his artistic career. Permanently entrenching himself in the artistic capital, Soto found himself collaborating with ZERO artists Yves Klein, Pol Bury, Jean Tinguely, amongst others to redefine the trajectory of Western art following World War II.
By the mid-1950s, he began exhibiting his investigations of vibrational movement with Galerie Denise René. Originally inspired by the works of Kazimir Malevich (White on White, 1918) and Piet Mondrian (Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43), Soto was quick to identify unresolved problems in these two respective paintings and thus the central crux of his entire artistic production: the question of an object’s position in time and space. His ultimate became the brilliant and most essential coup of Kinetic art. By using squares—which he considers “the most genuine human form”—superimposed upon a careful landscape of sequential lines, Soto achieves a revolutionary optical illusion of a vibrational and moving state.
Although seemingly simplistic, Grande relation noire et bleue (1965), represents an ambitious exploration of the square by the artist. Advancing beyond the bare geometry and the single-dimensions of his predecessors, Soto uses this work as an invitation to reintroduce us, the viewers, to the realities of space and movement in a new, multi-dimensional format. His masterful, optical trick and solution becomes clear in Grande relation noire et bleue where multiple, new planes of vision are invented by the eye of the viewer. As we stand back to observe the work, we perceive a uniform vibration of the entire panel; blue and black squares jumping towards us then recessing in a rhythmic visual dance.