Jesús-Rafael Soto was born in 1923 in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela. In 1947 he moved to Caracas where he developed as a painter and sculptor at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas. He then served as director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Maracaibo until 1950. At the beginning of that decade he received a government grant to travel to France and settled in Paris where began associating with Yaacov Agam, Jean Tinguely, Victor Vasarely and other artists connected with the Salon des Realités Nouvelles and the Galerie Denise René. When Soto arrived in Europe in 1951, Geometric Abstraction had virtually run its course. Jesús-Rafael Soto sought ways to rekindle it with the visualization of movement. Soto’s works addressed time, the “fourth dimension” of Kinetic Art. During this period Soto produced a number of vibrational acrylic boxes; most notably, the human-scale Cube à espace ambigu (Box in an ambiguous space, 1969). In the 1960s Soto explored the idea of haptic art: works to be touched or works that touched the viewer. A case in point is Penetrables, an interactive metal and plastic structure through which the viewer can move, and can thus experience the work through touch and shared space.
Jesús-Rafael Soto's work is included in many prominent private and public international collections, including: Tate Gallery, London, England; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat, Bottrop, Germany; Museum Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, Canada; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Fundación ARCO, Madrid, Spain; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Roma, Italy; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico; Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo, The Netherlands; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland; and the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, Venezuela, among many others.
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