• Carlos Cruz-Diez and Dawn Ades

    Carlos Cruz-Diez and Dawn Ades

  • Carlos Cruz-Diez

    Carlos Cruz-Diez


27 September 2003 - 30 October 2003

The installation of Carlos Cruz-Diez's Chromointerference at the Art Exchange, University of Essex and at firstsite @ the minories Chromosaturation, offers a rare opportunity to experience the work of this internationally respected kinetic artist in the UK.

In Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturations, a series also begun in the 1960s and installed in firstsite @ the minories, Colchester, the impact of colour on the individual is taken to extremes. In this work the viewer is drenched in colour as he or she traverses three interconnected spaces, one bathed in blue light, another in red and another in green. The opaque walls isolate the viewer from the outside world and transform the Chromosaturation into an intense physical and psychological experience. The effect of colour saturation on the brain is still being researched but is known to be a powerful phenomenon.

Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1923 and has been based in Paris since the 1960s. His experiments with light, movement and especially colour have spanned a career lasting more than 50 years, which has included exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Modern Art Museum in New York and the Olympiad of Art at the Seoul Olympics. Cruz-Diez has also exhibited in the UK and his works are included in the collections of the Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum and ESCALA (Essex Collection of Art from Latin America).

Cruz-Diez's intense interest in the properties and possibilities of colour began when he worked as a graphic artist for an advertising agency in Caracas. In contrast to previous artists, who tended to use colour largely in order to define the form of recognisable forms and objects, Cruz-Diez wanted to make colour the most important aspect of the work of art, stripping it to its bare essentials. He also yearned, like other kinetic artists, to make art with which the viewer could interact and which would stimulate the senses in a very direct way.

In Cruz-Diez's kinetic works, which have also been described as Op art, the movement is both real and apparent. Chromointerference comprises a darkened room with white walls in which a projection casts vertical lines of different colours onto walls and three-dimensional objects, including the viewer. The lines shift and change, intensifying the sensation of movement and the creation of 'virtual' colours that emerge and disappear depending on the position of the viewer.

In Chromosaturation the light is static, but the chromatic experience is intensified by bathing the viewer in different coloured light. He or she traverses three interconnected rooms that are drenched in green, red and blue and that allow the viewer to experience themselves and their environment in a very different way. Perhaps we want to mention the sense of visual distortion that the paasing from one colour to the next produces?

Cruz-Diez's Chromointereference and Chromosaturation both belong to series that he began in the 1960s and which represent advanced stages in his experiments with colour that, like all of his work, continue to evolve and expand. In line with his belief that art and artists should always be 'of the moment' Cruz-Diez strives to make use of new technologies and techniques. The installation at firstsite @ the minories will therefore include computer terminals where people can create their own works based on Cruz-Diez's theory of colour.

Joanne Harwood, Director 

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