In this article the Venezuelan journalist, landscape painter, and art critic Rafael Cordero describes his encounter with one of Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Fisicromías at the artist’s exhibition at the Kerchache Gallery (Paris, November 1965). The exhibition was representative of the impact created by the innovative nature of the works and the confusion generated by their aesthetic effects among Venezuelan viewers whose cultural environment, in the mid-twentieth century, was dominated by Impressionist landscape painting that coexisted with a powerful desire for modernity and progress. Hence Cordero’s nagging doubt, split as he was between his admiration for his compatriot’s painting, exhibited in Paris at the time, and his dislike of the surprising works that conflicted with own aesthetic beliefs. He admired the bewildering object on display at the famous cosmopolitan gallery despite the fact that its “exasperating rationalism” clashed with his personal view of art.
The article provides the reader with a superficial review of the work Cruz-Diez had produced in recent years, from his earliest figurative works that featured subjects associated with Caracas to his first abstract works produced in 1954, and his “unusual” work from 1965 that Cordero finds disturbing because of its dense, rationalist content. He tries to describe the Fisicromías and how they work and, in so doing, shows that he does not understand them. He jumbles his thought in his attempt to explain what he is looking at, admitting that it is impossible to “be coherent and avoid digressing.” He criticizes the excessive rationalism he sees in the technical and mechanical structures that seem to him to have rejected humanist values and are, in his opinion, epidermal expressions of a mechanical-industrial world, “a cerebral-scientific game about reality that threatens to become monotonous and decadent.” The acclaim that Soto and Cruz-Diez enjoyed made their compatriots jealous, as Cordero implies in his references to group and solo exhibitions in Rome, London, and, currently, Paris.