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Carlos Cruz-Diez –”Physichromie 1.114”

Sold for SEK 600.000 at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 11-14 June 2019

Lot 614. Carlos Cruz-Diez (Venezuela born 1923). ”Physichromie 1.114”. Signed and dated Cruz-Diez Paris Mai 1978 on metal plate affixed to the reverse. Acrylic on panel with plastic elements and aluminum frame, 50 x 50 cm.


400.000 – 600.000 SEK
€ 38.000 – 56.000


A Swedish Private Collection.

In context

Carlos Cruz-Diez’s ”Physichromie 1.114”

Earning himself the epithet as ‘master of color and line’, creating participatory and fluid visual experiences, Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez is believed to be one of the father figures of kinetic and optical art. Kinetic being art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect and optical being a style of visual art that uses optical illusions, the two often going hand in hand.

Born in Caracas in 1923, Cruz-Diez has lived and worked in Paris since 1960, subsequently establishing himself as one of the key 20th century thinkers in the realm of color, researching its abilities since 1954. In his “Reflection on Color”, first published in 1989, Cruz-Diez thoroughly describes his relationship with color: ”In my works, color appears and disappears during the course of a dialogue with real space and time. What also emerges is the undeniable fact that the information we have acquired and the knowledge we have memorized throughout our lifetime are, probably, not true… at least to some extent”.

When we view color through an “elementary prism” that has been stripped of pre-existing meanings, it can awaken other sensory perception mechanisms that are more subtle and complex than those that have been ingrained in us by our cultural conditioning and the constant, ubiquitous barrage of information we face in our contemporary society. (Reflection on Color, Fundación Juan March, 2009)

The present work, ”Physichromie 1.114”, is one of many Physichromies, the term Cruz-Diez used to describe one of four types of self-defined op art categories, the other three being Choromointerferences, Chromosaturations and Transchromies, all of them relying on the light directed at the work, the observer’s position in relation to the work as well as the relationship between the colors presented.

All Physichromies are entitled “Physichromie” with a number listed after to indicate its uniqueness. ”Physichromie 1.114” is a square bas relief comprised of a sequence of thin vertical coloured bands, in between these polychrome lines in acrylic executed with mathematical regularity across the surface of the work. The work is designed to be viewed from multiple angles as the colour across its surface alters depending on the viewer’s position in relation to the work. In 1960 the artist described the Physichromie series in the following manner: ”The Physichromies are a light trap, a space where a series of color strips interact and transform one another. They generate new ranges of color and invade the space that surrounds the vertical bands that cover the entire work. Moreover, the movement of the viewer and the light source create a series of chromatic variations, similar to those produced in a real landscape with each revolution of the sun. They will never be exactly the same because the intensity and nature of the light that is shed upon them will never be the same. Hence the name Physichromies, because they put into play the color of light, a physical color”. (Quoted in Museu d’Art Espanyol Contemporani, 2009)

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Jeanna Ahlin


Modern och samtida konst
Tel: 0734-32 41 45

Fredrik Fellbom


Skulptur och grafik
Tel: 0707-51 81 31

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