Carlos Cruz-Diez, major figure in kinetic art, dies aged 95

  • Arts
  • Monday, 29 Jul 2019

Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez died on July 27 in Paris. He was a leading Latin American avant garde artist praised for his work with colour. Photo: AP

Carlos Cruz-Diez, one of the major figures in kinetic art, has died at the age of 95 in Paris, his family announced on July 28.

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Carlos Eduardo Cruz-Diez," said a statement from the family posted on the artist's website.

"Your love, your joy, your teachings and your colours, will remain forever in our hearts." The funeral would be held in private, the statement added.

The Franco-Venezuelan artist was born August 17 in 1923, in Caracas, and as a young student at the School of Fine Art there financed his studies by drawing comic books.

From 1960, he lived and worked in Paris.

"I started by painting slums, misery," he once said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro.

"I thought artists should be a reporter of their time and I was very admiring of the Flemish paintings such as Brueghel," he said.

A brightly painted former pilot ship The Edmund Gardner seen at the Albert Dock in Liverpool in 2014. It was painted by Cruz-Diez using the idea of 'Dazzle' camouflage, a system of camouflaging used by allied shipping in the First World War in an attempt to confuse German submarines.

This work was part of the Liverpool Biennial art festival in 2014. Photo: Reuters

"A very long and painful reflection led me not towards abstraction but towards invention. By default. When I understood that paintings could not change social problems."

In a career spanning 70 years, Cruz-Diez focused much of his attention on research into the theory of colour, applying it in his work.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Although he settled in Paris and eventually acquired French nationality, his art remains anchored in his native Venezuela.

One of his most large-scale works is the one covering the walls and floor of the Simon Bolivar International Airport at Caracas. Another can be found in the capital's Plaza Venezuela.

He founded three art workshops, in Caracas, in Paris and in Panama, as well as the Cruz-Diez Art Foundation in Houston, Texas, his website noted. - AFP

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