Maestro of light: Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez turns 93

CCTV News

Carlos Cruz-Diez Carlos Cruz-Diez

The Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez celebrated his 93rd birthday on August 17th. The maestro, who is still actively working, is famed for his work exploring our perception of color. CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs met him, at his studio in Panama.

Maestro of light: Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez turns 93

Maestro of light: Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez turns 93

It really is hard to believe Cruz-Diez is 93, and has recently set up a new studio in Panama. He never stops working. And, it seems, never stops laughing.

Understanding color. That has been Carlos Cruz-Diez’s long life’s work. How light and movement affect our perception of everything. That intriguing line between what we see.

And what we think we see.

Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence A pour Wörn / Paris, France, 2006
16 x 16 cm (6 1/4 x 6 1/4”)

Induction Chromatique à Double Fréquence A pour Wörn / Paris, France, 2006
16 x 16 cm (6 1/4 x 6 1/4”)

It really is hard to believe Cruz-Diez is 93, and has recently set up a new studio in Panama. He never stops working. And, it seems, he never stops laughing.

Distinctive, perfectly executed lines are central to his work. They permit endless experimentation with the juxtaposition of colors that change as the viewer moves.

We spent some time with him in the studio.

“This is the induced yellow. This white is the same white as this one. It seems yellow here, but not there. So here the yellow is being created, in an instant.”

Cruz-Diez has never shied away from using the latest technology to help manufacture the image he imagines. Personal computing – which only really got going when he was already in his seventies – is something he has completely embraced.


WATCH: A demo of an app based on Cruz-Diez’s work

The maestro’s works are on display all over the world, often in public spaces. One of the best known is the floor he designed in the main airport of Caracas.

Simon Bolivar airport, Caracas

Simon Bolivar airport, Caracas

More recently he has collaborated with China’s Liu Bolin, known as the ‘disappearing artist’.

Courtesy of Klein Sun Gallery and Liu Bolin, (c) Liu Bolin

Courtesy of Klein Sun Gallery and Liu Bolin, (c) Liu Bolin

So what lesson does he have for us all on his 93rd birthday? It’s a simple one: no one should dwell on sadness.

“I’ve always believed in the joy of living: in humor, in laughter,” said Cruz-Diez. “I am suspicious of people who don’t laugh. Life is fun. We have to live it with joy.”

Something that shines through both his life, and his art.

Cruz-Diez at an exhibition in Valencia, 2003

Cruz-Diez at an exhibition in Valencia, 2003


WATCH: Cruz-Diez’s architectural works


More documentaries from Cruz-Diez’s website

Carlos Cruz-Diez circa 1971

Carlos Cruz-Diez circa 1971

WEBSITE: www.cruz-diez.com