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The painter Carlos Cruz-Diez is dead

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The Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. Mary Altaffer / AP / SIPA

One of his last exhibitions ended the same day at the Royal Ice Rink of Brussels: the French artist of Venezuelan origin Carlos Cruz-Diez died in Paris on Saturday 27 July, at the age of 95. Visitors to the Brussels exhibition were able to immerse themselves for a few months in a bath of colors produced by a gigantic installation composed of colored glass plates. Titled © e Labyrinthus, the piece had been imagined in 1969 but had never been realized for lack of means: each plate of glass, larger than a man, is dyed dâ? A primary color (blue, red or yellow) or a secondary color obtained by the addition of two of the primaries (orange, green or purple), or finally of a gray posed hereinafter.

By circulating between the plates erected vertically at a regular distance from each other, like the walls of a labyrinth, the spectator saw the different colors superimposed, interfered with, mix in his eye, giving him the impression of navigating in a rainbow. Cruz-Diez named it a "transchromie". It was one of eight chapters ("Transchromy", "Additive Color", "Physiochromy", "Chromatic Induction", "Chromointerference", " "Chromosaturation", "Chromoscope" and "Color in Space") of the researcher who was one of the last great color theorists, and one of the major players in optical and cinematic art.

Born in Caracas on August 17, 1923, Carlos Cruz-Diez had studied at the beginning of the 1940s at the School of Fine Arts of that city from where he went. was graduated in Applied Arts. He then worked for advertising and the press before embarking on a series of trips to the United States and Europe. It was there, in Paris, that he visited in 1955 the exhibition "The Movement" organized by Victor Vasarely at the Denise René gallery, whose radicalism struck him: works abstract, which, from Calder to Tinguely through a roto-relief of Duchamp and pieces of Agam, Bury, Jacobsen, or Soto, modified the relationship of art to the audience, introducing a new concept At this scale, the animation of the surfaces, either by the movement of the visitor, or by that of the work itself. It was for Vasarely to fight against the lyrical abstraction, or gesture, which then took precedence over the geometric art, less dynamic in appearance.