Jesús Rafael Soto
Vibración casi inmaterial (Almost Immaterial Vibration)
1963-64
Wood, wire, and paint
23 1/4 x 63 in. (59 x 160 cm)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of the 2004 Collectors Committee

For Jesús Rafael Soto, a pioneer of op art, the illusion of movement was a means of achieving an interactive relationship with the viewer: walk by one of his works, and the sense of motion intensifies. Almost Immaterial Vibration is among the first of his "classic" Escrituras (Writings)—optically vibrant paintings with hanging elements that resemble handwriting and seem to pulsate with energy. The Escrituras freed Soto from the confines of the surface, allowing him to "draw in space." On the right side of this two-part painting, the hanging rods are gray-green and appear to dissolve almost completely into the highly energized background. On the left, the rods are black and more individually distinguishable. Rather than representing the world around us, Soto's illusionism plays with the physical shortcomings of our eyes, creating a space in constant flux that we perceive as two-dimensional. It is the surface of this painting that appears to be in motion.