Venezuelan Jesus Rafael Soto was known as an Op and Kinetic artist, sculptor and painter. He was renowned for his geometric abstract paintings. As a young man, Soto received a scholarship to study at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Artes Aplicadas in Caracas between 1942 and 1947. Soto’s education opened him up to influences from artists from around the globe, in part due to the Director of his school, Antonio Edmundo Monsanto, who would incorporate foreign books, magazines and reproductions in his teaching. In 1951 he received a government grant to move to Europe. He settled in Paris and brought a new take on three dimensional art to Europe.
Soto’s innovative three dimensional work often used plexiglass and created optical illusions. He was not constricted by size, and his works ranged from small scale such as Estructuras cinéticas de elementos geométricos (1955) to the much larger scale Cube à espace ambigu (1969). One of his most renowned works is the interactive sculpture Penetrables, which consisted of square, hanging tubes that viewers could walk through and experience holistically.
Soto’s work has featured in some prominent galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He died in Paris in 2005.