Jesus Rafael Soto (1923-2005) was a Venezuelan optical and kinetic artist, a well-known sculptor and painter.
His artistic career began during his childhood, painting cinema posters. He lived in Caracas until he left for Paris in 1950, where his works were shown in a number of groundbreaking exhibits, particularly in 1955 as part of the group exhibition “Le Mouvement”, which included works by Marcel Duchamp and Viktor Vasarely.
Soto’s awareness, perception and understanding of movement as a physical phenomenon led him to create enormous sculptural works that invited observers to interact with these installations by walking through them, beginning with his Pénétrables series.
By the late 1960’s he had become well-known as a leader in optical and kinetic art, with works that were extraordinary for their illusions of sensory vibrations. Soto’s art can be seen as inseparable from the viewer, the illusion he creates can only stand completed when perceived by the mind of each viewer as a result of the particular vibrations and sensations elicited after observing the piece.
Soto was at the peak of his career from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, a time when he exhibited widely in Europe.
From 1970 until the early 1990s, Soto’s works were displayed in places such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, as well as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Today his work is part of the greatest international collections such as Tate Gallery in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, among others.