This theoretical text by Carlos Cruz-Diez (1923–2019) is of vital importance both in terms of the basic tenets of the Kinetic aesthetic and of his Cromosaturaciones (Chromosaturations) in particular. The text establishes his historical links to the chromatic problems of Western art and the (Marxist) ideological foundations of his aesthetic thinking. When Cruz-Diez states that his Cromosaturaciones expose the viewer to color in “crude” or “isolated” ways—as opposed to what we see in nature—he is alluding to one of the aesthetic foundations that underpins Kinetic art; specifically, the idea of a phenological presentation of what representative painting tried to do in mimetic ways. While Claude Monet (1840–1926) sought to reproduce the effect of light reflected on water (as in his paintings of waterlilies), Kinetic art achieved that goal by looking directly at reflected light, seen as a natural phenomenon organized and informed by art. In doing so, it invalidated the claim that such a “crude” experience is not supported by any aesthetic idea nor by any traditional form of art. What is of interest is the fact that Kinetic artists provided an innovative response to concerns that had long dogged Western art, a response that even went beyond what the Impressionists accomplished.
When Cruz-Diez says that elementary experiences of this nature could be the basis of a whole new system of thought (mystical, poetic, esoteric), he is essentially exploring a basic Marxist theory that claims that a new world is about to begin, following a revolutionary break with the history of humanity. This is something that his work categorically denies; the chromatic experiences he proposes contradict that idea because they only become meaningful by being part of the long history of color in Western painting. The revolutionary break proposed by his Cromosaturaciones—that bring us face to face with phenomena that strive to be free of any kind of aesthetic a priori—is in fact proof that such a historic “rupture” is clearly impossible since what defines culture is precisely its continuity in time and before the rest of the world. The density and richness of life is not the product of a supposed “crude” contact (whether deconditioned or unalienated from the world) but, rather, on the contrary, is the result of a renewed awareness of our participation in the thousand-year experience known as the human condition.
The text ends with a brief physical description of his Cromosaturaciones. Some of them have transparent walls that allow visitors to observe their urban environment from within chromosaturated spaces that Cruz-Diez describes as “deconditioning” or “unalienating” experiences. Others are opaque booths that encourage visitors to focus their attention on what is happening to their bodies and their immediate surroundings while disconnected from the urban environment. This theoretical article by the Venezuelan artist, who had, at the time, been living in Paris since the early 1960s, ends by explaining that this is the first time he has installed a Cromosaturación in Spain, and that he hopes it will attract the interest of viewers in Barcelona.