• Dates: October 18, 2019–February 9, 2020
  • Curator: Manuel Cirauqui, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Curated by Manuel Cirauqui

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is pleased to present Soto. The Fourth Dimension, an innovative examination of more than six decades of work by a major pioneer in Latin American and European kinetic art. Organized in collaboration with Atelier Soto in Paris, the exhibition uses the concept of four-dimensionality—a key trope to understand Modernist history—as a compass through Jesús Rafael Soto’s rich oeuvre, thus revealing connections between different periods, movements, and artistic possibilities that coincide in his work.

Jesús Rafael Soto (Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela, 1923–Paris, France, 2005) played a fundamental role in the redefinition of the work of art for the contemporary era. Breaking through the conventions of painting and sculpture from the late-1950s, Soto’s practice moved beyond the visual realm and came to emblematize the radical shift of the art object, from optical investigation to the kinetic form, then to the exploration of art’s full participatory potential.

Structured around the artist’s conception of the aesthetic experience—as temporality altered by intense vibration and spectator performance—the exhibition Soto. The Fourth Dimension offers a unique opportunity to reappraise the trajectory of a visionary figure. The idea of a “fourth dimension” evokes the complex merging of form and experience in time, and is one of the fundamental concepts that artists of the mid-20th century inherited from the utopian spirituality of the avant-gardes. For Soto, who set out to respond to the works of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, László Moholy-Nagy, and Marcel Duchamp, this notion evolved into his signature Penetrables—great structures consisting of suspended plastic hoses designed for visitors to engage in physically and socially, and not only visually and individually. Working on this participatory model in all his series, Soto pioneered new uses of sculpture as a framework for a dynamic and holistic understanding of the aesthetic field. “In the Penetrables—he declared—the spectator enters the vertical threads or rods that have taken over all the available space and constitute the work itself. From that moment on, spectator and artwork are physically mingled in an inextricable way.”

Alongside several Penetrables of varying scales and materials, the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao features important examples of Soto’s major series, including early paintings and transparencies, Virtual Volumes, Suspended Volumes, Progressions, Extensions, as well as mural works, editions and multiples, and incorporates a significant apparatus of archival material, thus accounting for the most important aspects of the artist’s trajectory. In total, more than sixty works are presented on a surface of over one thousand square meters.

Curated by Manuel Cirauqui, curator at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Soto. The Fourth Dimension will be open from October 18, 2019, through February 9, 2020. A fully illustrated, 200-page catalogue, featuring new scholarship on the artist alongside key historical documentation, will be co-published by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and La Fábrica to accompany the exhibition.

For more information:
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Communication and Marketing Department
Telephone: +34 944 359 008