Carlos Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela on August 17, 1923. Recognized as one of the greatest kinetic artists of all time, he created art that explores the perception of color as an autonomous reality evolving in space and time. His canvas’ were innovative in that they reflected the evolving nature of color through motion.
Throughout his lifetime, he achieved many academic and professional goals that further allowed his work to gain recognition, eventually becoming a symbol of patriotism and nostalgia for all Venezuelans. In 1940, he studied at the School of Fine Arts in Caracas, where he obtained the diploma of professor in Applied Arts. In 1944, he worked as an illustrator for the publication ‘El Farol of the Creole Petroleum Corporation,’ as well as for other magazines such as La Esfera and Élite. In 1946, he served as the creative director of the advertising agency McCann-Erickson. He held his first exhibition called “12 Gouaches de Carlos Cruz-Diez” at the Instituto Venezolano-Americano in Caracas in 1947. In 1953, he worked as an illustrator for the then prestigious newspaper “El Nacional.” Finally, in 1960, he moved with his family to Paris where he continued to create work that played with the viewer’s perspective by providing an illusion of movement through the use of color, space, and time.
Cruz-Diez’s work is housed in prestigious permanent collections in art institutions internationally. However, his most famous and most memorable work of art is located in Venezuela. “Ambientation of Additive Color” is a physichromie series, installed and exhibited inside the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia. This exquisite piece has served as the backdrop to millions of Venezuelans who have fled the country during the past decade. Ask a Venezuelan and you will come to understand that this piece transcends time and space and continues to be housed in the hearts and minds of Venezuelans around the world despite where they may have had to migrate to.
Before departing to various unknown lands, one of the last things that Venezuelans see at the airport is the work of Carlos Cruz-Diez. It is fitting that his work creates an illusion of movement that stimulates “awareness of the instability of reality,” as Venezuelans are forced to leave behind their home country in search of a new and more stable reality.
By Marlon Correa, Daniella Bustillos, Dilianna Bustillos.