Jesús Rafael Soto

Born 1923, Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela

Died 2005, Paris, France


Late 1920s/ Early 1930s   Begins his artistic career painting cinema posters as a child.

Studies at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas, Caracas.

1947-1950   Directs the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in Marcaibo.

1950   Moves to Paris, joining the circle of artists associated with the Salon des Realités Nouvelles and the Galerie Denise René.

1955   Participates in the exhibition Le Mouvement at Denise René Gallery.  He explores problems within the abstract-constructivist system and develops a kinetic vocabulary to alter space and the perception of the viewer.  He is considered one of the founders of Kinetic art, which involves motion (by motors, nature, or actions of the viewer/spectator).    

Experiments with geometric forms and creates his Repetition Paintings, comprised of simple geometric elements repeated in a series.

1960   Introduces three-dimensional aspects to his art, referring to these works as Writings, Ts, and Ambivalences.  Writings: made with irregular wires sticking out from the artworks’ surface; Ts: have protruding T-shape wires that move with the spectator; Ambivalences: movable squares suspended in space.    

1963   Wins the Lobo prize at the São Paulo Biennial.

1964   Receives the D. Bright second prize at the Venice Biennial.

1968   The spectator becomes part of the work in Soto’s Penetrables, life-sized creations constructed of nylon threads to creating an area where the spectator can enter.

1973   Founds Museo de Arte Moderno Jesús Soto in Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela.

1970s-1990s   His works appear at the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

2001   Participates in the SITE Santa Fe biennial.