Despite the considerable confusion that pervades this assortment of ideas and the chaotic structure and multiple errors in the text, this conversation between the Venezuelan journalist Carlos Díaz Sosa and his friend Carlos Cruz-Diez is of particular importance because it took place just seven years after the artist began his mature work, following his first Color Aditivo and his first Fisicromía, and six years after he had settled in Paris (1960). There is a certain aggressiveness and not a little inflexibility in the statements made by the artist, who is still experiencing the tensions that have defined much of his intellectual life, which has been devoted to figurative art focused on social and nationalist protest. The latter is something Cruz-Diez was involved with for over a decade (from approximately 1945 to 1957) in addition to his Geometric Abstract, Concrete, and Kinetic art (which he practiced from 1957 to 1959). His work was politically active and universalist, eschewing everything related to figurative painting and any kind of individual, national, and/or Americanist expression.
The interview focused on just a few ideas:
- The conflict between handcrafts and visual art invention.
- A formalist aesthetic (attached to patterns from the past) and an effective expression of the ideas of our time. An anachronistic expression of nationalist concerns and the universality of creative ideas that, generally speaking, interest people, regardless of nationality or place of origin.
- The continuance over time of ideas that transform and contribute to the history of art and the attachment (as in “art for art’s sake”) to formalisms, what Cruz-Diez calls the “patterns” that each generation, especially in Venezuela, continue to perpetuate with no modifications.
- The defining characteristics of Kinetic art, which does not transpose realities onto the canvas but works with the physical realities of the world by incorporating real time and making the work “a transformable reality” that forces the viewer to get involved with it.
The interview ends after a discussion about the importance (in his eyes) of the work of Jesús Soto who, as of 1955 (in Paris) helped him to discover the innovative world of visual invention. There were, in fact, very few people (in Venezuela) at the time who liked Soto’s work. The conversation then turned to criteria for the evaluation of art that were not aesthetic, but based on discursive efficacy, hence the everyday dilemma that arose concerning the obsolete role of the art critic who evaluated works based entirely on criteria from the past.