‘ Vibrations 1950 – 1960 ’
New York, 69th Street
Renowned as art history’s leading kinetic artist, Soto explored the dematerialization, or ‘disintegration’ of the art object, breaking new ground while anticipating conceptual strategies to come.
Vibrations 1950 – 1960,’ the first exhibition to focus on the critical first decade of the artist’s life in Paris, curated by Jean-Paul Ameline. A believer in art historical evolution, Soto built upon the work of artistic masters that preceded him in order to challenge figurative tradition via abstraction and repetition. Imbued with vibration and movement, Soto’s early works constitute a breakthrough in his output, laying crucial groundwork for his later kinetic works and the uniquely fluid style that shaped his artistic vocabulary.
The exhibition opens with Soto’s ‘Compositions dynamiques,’ a series of ten paintings made during his initial year in Paris. First exhibited in the summer of 1951 at the influential Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, an annual showcase that presented a wide range of abstract art, these works reveal Soto’s earliest investigation of geometric abstraction, driven by a subversion of formal compositional principles in painting. Building upon the neoplastic language pioneered by Piet Mondrian, Soto developed his compositions by adhering to a self-imposed, gridded format and a limited color scheme of yellows, reds, blues, and greens. Through his art, Soto wanted to engage viewers as active participants in the process of perception and experimented with the serial repetition of color and geometric forms in an effort to create optical vibrations and what he referred to as ‘the displacement of the viewer.’ As a result, these experimental, serialized paintings convey a sense of depth through an overlay of bright shapes and black delineations, and serve as the foundation of Soto’s trajectory.
on view through 26 July 2019