Page 15 - Studio International - January 1966
P. 15

Grand Relation:                                                            Soto's Writings  fall into a quite different category.
         16 black and 8 silver squares
         Silver and black plaques on wood                                          The artist's complex snares in which the eye loses its
         62 1/2 x 42 in.                                                           orientation are set up in our own  space, in that very
         Purchased by the Tate Gallery
         from the Soto Retrospective                                               space in which we ourselves move and live. The work
         at Signals, London
                                                                                   is no longer set at a distance from reality, it is no longer
                                                                                   simply a window on an imaginary world, a porthole
                                                                                   through which the eye of the observer securely fixed
                                                                                   in familiar space could experience for a moment the
                                                                                   ideas and anguish which beset the artist when he
                                                                                   created his work. On the contrary, the work now
                                                                                   intrudes upon reality and our own comfortable idea of
                                                                                   space and puts in question our preconceived notions.
                                                                                    Let us examine one of the 'immaterial curves' recently
                                                                                   completed by Soto. Confronted with symbols which
                                                                                   move and alter, join and separate incessantly in front
                                                                                   of our eyes we do not know—in this perpetually
                                                                                   changing play of the imagination, this complex move-
                                                                                   ment of forms which all the time advance, withdraw,
                                                                                   disappear and reappear—where to set our gaze or how
                                                                                   to recreate the traditional dimensions of that space in
                                                                                   which we are accustomed to live. Our visual bearings
                                                                                   and mental habits are lost in this world which we cannot
                                                                                   define with certainty as either two-dimensional or
                                                                                   three-dimensional, in this limbo which passes the
                                                                                   ultimate limit of logic, in this journey of the eye along an
                                                                                   endless maze beyond the bounds of our reasoned
                                                                                   structures. The immutable, reassuring concept of space
                                                                                   which was hitherto a point of reference and a support
                                                                                   for the observer is now put in question.
                                                                                    Soto's 'infernal machine'—especially when it is built
                                                                                   up on an architectural scale, as was the case with the
                                                                                   wall at the Signals exhibition—threatens that space
                                                                                   in which we live and in which we felt so secure. Fiction
                                                                                   impinges upon reality until the two became inseparable.
                                                                                   One work of no great size is sufficient to set a whole
                                                                                   area of real space in which I live sliding into the abyss.
         Grand Relation                                                            Space as a whole—my own  vital space—undergoes a
         Blue and black 1965
         Painted metal plaques                                                     strange transformation. Between the hallucinations
         superimposed on painted wood                                              described by Paul Klee and the real vertigo felt in front
         62 x 42 in.
         Collection: Paul Keeler, Windsor                                          of one of Soto's vibrations there is the same difference
                                                                                   for the observer as there would be between seeing a
                                                                                   film of experiments in weightlessness and on the other
                                                                                   hand actually participating in such experiments.
                                                                                    These simple Writings of Soto reveal to the full the
                                                                                   artist's privilege of recreating reality. Where does the
                                                                                   dividing line between fiction and reality fall ? Tomorrow
                                                                                   we shall understand the world through works such as
                                                                                   these which are still enigmatic and are themselves a
                                                                                   fundamental product of our age; they express intuit-
                                                                                   ively, better than any manual could do, the complex
                                                                                   inter-relationship of space and time and the new links
                                                                                   revealed by science between energy and matter.
                                                                                    At a time when a whole army of dwarf Picabias
                                                                                   argue and fight noisily over the leftovers of the dadaist
                                                                                   movement, these simple, clear and realistic works,
                                                                                   nourished on a secret, overwhelming complicity with
                                                                                   modern life and the spirit of our age, point out to us the
                                                                                   direction in which the dignity and grandeur of con-
                                                                                   temporary art lie. 'The chosen artists', wrote Paul Klee,
                                                                                   'are those who touch upon the secret depths where all
                                                                                   evolution begins from the most fundamental law of all
                                                                                   . . . where the organic centre of all movement, in both
                                                                                   space and time—no matter whether we choose to call
                                                                                   it the brain or the heart of creation—determines all the
                                                                                   processes within the heart of nature, at the depths of
                                                                                   creation where lies, closely guarded, the secret key to
                                                                                   the universe ...' 	                            n

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