Magazine article Tate Etc.

Beyond the Easel

Magazine article Tate Etc.

Beyond the Easel

Article excerpt

Gallery One, New Vision Centre, Signals and Indica at Tate Britain Il - To coincide with the display, Tate Etc. talked to the Venezuelan-born artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (b.1923) about his early exhibition at Signals London in 1965, his works and his lifelong exploration of colour

Tate Etc. - Could you describe how Physichromie No. 123 was actually made? You invented a special machine to create it...

Carlos Cruz-Diez - That was the happy result of an accident. I produced Physichromie No, 123 in 1963, using materials that were available at the time - cardboard strips with coloured edges, with which I built the Chromatic Event Modules, and exterior sheets of a rather fragile reflective material called Lumalinethatl placed between each module. One day a heavy box of packing material fell on the work and reduced it to rubble; it stayed like that in the workshop for years. When I started using aluminium U-shaped sections instead of cardboard or PVC strips, I returned to the project and rebuilt it, replacing the fragile Lumaline with sheets of highly polished stainless steel that were like mirrors. All my works are produced according to a plan and then coded -thus eliminating all romantic traces of the artist's hand - so they can be reconstructed should they deteriorate overtime. We know that many of the materials that artists use today are perishable, so, as a precaution, I record the construction specifics and the colour codes of all my works in a log that is kept in the archives of the Cruz-Diez Workshop and the Cruz-Diez Foundation, My works are built by hand in a stow, complex process requiring tools that are sometimes simply not available. I have, therefore, had to design many of the devices I need for each stage of the assembly, such as a section folder with rollers, several presses for silkscreen printing, a number of dyes...

Tate Etc. - What was your intention behind the creation of the Physichromie series of works? You have talked about the "aim to project colour from line into space".

Carlos Cruz-Diez - The series is the result of a great deal ottime spent thinking about the concept of colour in painting. We were, it seemed to me, in the grip of a millennial stagnation and were still in thrall to this concept. …

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