Carlos Cruz-Diez

(June 5 - August 4, 2012)

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Chromography on aluminum. 2011. 120 x 120 cm

The behavior of color is ambiguous, in addition to being the product of circumstance. However, we have conserved the age-old notion that it is “a certainty,” that it is something immutable. With absolute conviction, we offer our opinion that that wall is white and that table is red. This is probably true, but it is not absolutely certain. What we are affirming is their generic whiteness or redness, but not the behavior of these colors. When we refer to color in art, we associate it with a medium applied with a brush on a canvas. The manifestation of the chromatic phenomenon is subject to countless imponderables and a range of eventualities, such as the condition of the light, saturation, texture, material, distances, immateriality, etc., all conditions that make it impossible to reproduce by memory the red or white we think we have seen. Our memory is incapable of remembering with any exactitude the nuances of a color. For this reason, color is synonymous with ambiguity and circumstance, as is, in a certain way, the human being. Consequently, color is intimately associated with our emotions, our wants. What’s more, it is lustful. There are no logical grounds for loving or detesting a color. Why do I like that blue… and not a different shade? From the Greeks to the philosophers of the nineteenth century, color has been “an accompaniment to the expression of art,” never a main protagonist. The choice of theme, the lines, perspective, or composition have always been more important. Of course, there were great colorists like the Venetian painters, but it wasn’t until Delacroix, the impressionists, and les fauves that color began to take on another level of importance in painting. The criteria established and the lack of interest in color’s protagonism in art were the motives for which I undertook my chromatic adventure, which, over the years, led me to discover different information and other forms of enjoyment in that fascinating expressive element. I have sought to prove that color needs neither form nor support medium to materialize and offer its emotional message. I have attempted to remove color from the flat medium of painting and transfer it into space, turning it into an event in continuous transformation, stripped of narratives or symbologies. Color becoming and disappearing before our gaze, in a situation that evolves as we move, involving us as authors in an event that takes place in the present, without past, without future. Toward a different notion of two-dimensional painting. Over the centuries, the “static support” in painting has been considered inseparable from visual expression. It was the solution that man thought up in order to stop time and place on record the ephemeralness of an instant. As a result, painting on this plane became a synonym of permanence and eternity. “Colores Aditivos” (“Additive Colors”) (1959) and “Inducciones Cromáticas” (“Chromatic Inductions”) (1963) propose a different solution that integrates the notion of real time and space into the “static plane.” In these works, a chromatic event occurs, evolving continuously as the spectator moves and the light changes, in open defiance of nature and the traditional visual canons of space. Flat, static works that evolve and modify in a space-time dialectic between the spectator and the work, laying bare the ambiguity of color as it is generated and evolves outside the painted medium. I work at the limit of “normal vision, ”not to create “effects.” I try to capture never-before-seen, but real, circumstances of vision, in order to establish a different relationship of knowledge. The line is not a static element. It is the most effective means that I could find of multiplying the critical zones of vision between two planes of color, for the purpose of creating new and unstable ranges of color. Cruz-Diez / Paris 2012.