Jesús Rafael Soto Double Transparency 1956

  • Not on view

Soto painted striped patterns on two sheets of plexiglass and partially superimposed them so that the composition seems to flicker as you move in front of it. The artist used this optical effect as a way of emphasizing the immaterial and impermanent. “I have never sought to show reality caught at one precise moment,” he explained. “The universe, I believe, is uncertain and unsettled. The same must be true of my work.”

Gallery label from 2021
Additional text

“I really started out with the desire to make the work of Mondrian move,” explained Soto, who had traveled to Holland to see firsthand the work of the Dutch artist. Mondrian’s paintings such as Broadway Boogie-Woogie inspired Soto to animate abstraction by optical means. Using transparent sheets of Plexiglas, he was able to superimpose colorful striations that seem to flicker as the viewer moves. Activating the work through the beholder’s motion became a core principle of Soto’s practice, which over time staged even more complex and immersive bodily encounters.

Gallery label from Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, October 21, 2019–March 14, 2020
Oil on plexiglass and wood with metal rods and bolts
21 5/8 × 21 5/8 × 12 5/8" (55 × 55 × 32 cm)
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Ana Teresa Arismendi
Object number
© 2024 / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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The artist.
? - 1989, Lya and Fernando Ruben Coronil, Caracas.
1989 - 2016, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York, and Caracas, purchased from Lya Imber de Coronil and Fernando Ruben Coronil.
2016, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as promised gift from Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Exhibition history

Caracas, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, "Cuarenta Años de Creación 1943-1983", June 1983

Caracas, Galería de Arte Nacional, "Otero, Soto, Cruz-Diez. Tres maestros del abstraccionismo en Venezuela y su proyección internacional", October 16, 1994 - January 15, 1995

Austin, Blanton Museum of Art, "Dynamic Oppositions: Venezuelan Abstract-Constructive Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection", Janaury 7, 1999 - December 3, 2001

Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, "Versiones del sur. Heterotopías. Medio Siglo sin - lugar 1918-1968", December 12, 2000 - February 27, 2001

Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, "Geometric Abstraction, Latin American Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection / Abstracción Geométrica Arte Latinoamericano en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", March 3 - November 4, 2001

São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, "Paralelos: Arte brasileira da segunda metade do século XX em contexto. Colección Cisneros ", March 21 - June 16, 2002 and tour:
Rio de Janeiro, Museo de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, June 11 - September 22, 2002

Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, "Geo-metrías. Abstracción geométrica latinoamericana en la Colección Cisneros", March 14 - May 19, 2003 and tour:
Montevideo, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales Parque Rodo, July 3 - October 25, 2003

Lima, Museo de Arte de Lima, "Diálogos. Arte Latinoamericano desde la Colección Cisneros", July 22 - September 26, 2004 and tour:
Santiago, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, November 25 - February 28, 2005
Bogotá, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, May 5 - June 29, 2005

Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, "Cruce de Miradas. Visiones de América Latina en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", August 2 - October 21, 2006

Austin, Blanton Museum of Art, "The Geometry of Hope. Latin american abstract art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", February 20 - April 22, 2007 and tour:
New York, Grey Art Gallery, September 12 - December 8, 2007

Stockholm, Moderna Museet, "Concrete Matters", February 24 - May 13, 2018

MoMA Exh. #2424: "Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift", 3rd Floor, 3 East, October 21, 2019 - September 12, 2020

MoMA Exh. #2468: "Collection 1940s-1970s", 4th Floor, gallery 407, “On Plexiglass”, July 16, 2021 -


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