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Jesús Rafael Soto
Jai Alai Suite Edition 60 of 300




Jesús Rafael Soto was a Venezuelan artist known for his kinetic sculptures and large-scale installations. Like Alexander Calder and George Rickey, Soto’s delicate and responsive constructions react to external stimuli and changes in the atmosphere, as seen in his work Penetrable (1990). “Artistic creation is a force which should be directed towards the exploration of space, of the universe, of the infinite realities which surround us, but of which we are hardly conscious,” Soto once mused. Born on June 5, 1923 in Cuidad Bolívar, Venezuela, he studied at the Escuela des artes plásticas in Caracas from 1942–1947 and later served as the director of the Escuela de bellas artes in Maracaibo, Venezuela until his move to Europe in 1950. Settling in Paris, he associated with the Op Art artists Victor Vasarely and Yaacov Agam and members of the ZERO group such as Otto Piene, Jean Tinguely, and Heinz Mack. In 1973, the Museo de Arte modern Jesús Soto opened in his hometown of Ciudad Bolivar, focusing on the work of Soto and artists he admired, including Kazimir Malevich and Man Ray. The artist died on January 14, 2005, in Paris, France, at 81. Today, his works are held in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art collections, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, among others.


  • Creator
    Jesús Rafael Soto (1923 - 2005)
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 19 in. (48.26 cm)Width: 6 in. (15.24 cm)Depth: 6 in. (15.24 cm)
  • Medium
  • Period
  • Condition
  • Gallery Location
    Miami, FL
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU154128852442

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    Ships From: Miami, FL
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About the Artist

Jesús Rafael Soto

Venezuelan Op and kinetic painter and sculptor Jesús Rafael Soto (1923–2007) is perhaps best known for his immersive installations, which respond to their environments and physically absorb the viewer in a dynamic sensory experience. The exploration of space is central to Soto’s work. This is evident in his early paintings, of the 1950s, which create the illusion of movement through simple compositions and a limited palette. During the same period, he integrated industrial materials like nylon and steel into linear constructions that were part painting, part sculpture. But Rafael Soto’s grandest and most enigmatic creations are his “Pénétrables.” Made up of thousands of long clear or colored plastic strands suspended from the ceiling or from free-standing steel or PVC frames, these geometric sculptures play with the perception of space, inviting viewers to act as participants by moving within and through them. The strips of some of the installations were partly painted, forming shapes when seen from a distance. The Houston Penetrable (2014), at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, for instance, appears to hold a floating yellow ellipse. Rafael Soto created 25 “Pénétrables” over the course of his career. Each further blurred the line between reality and illusion and established viewers as not just spectators but as integral parts of the artwork itself. Shop Jesús Rafael Soto's art now at 1stDibs.
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