Venezuelan Kinetic artist, active mainly in Paris. He was born in Ciudad Bolívar and in 1942–7 he studied at the School of Fine and Applied Arts in Caracas; his fellow students included Cruz-Diez and Otero, who like Soto were among the pioneers of abstract art in Venezuela. In 1947–50 he was director of the School of Fine Arts in Maracaibo, then settled in Paris, where he initially earned his living as a guitarist. His early works included geometrically patterned paintings and in 1952 he began making constructions using perspex sheets marked with lines or designs over a patterned surface; the movement of the spectator produced apparent movement in the work. He incorporated real movement for the first time in 1958 in his Vibration Structures, in which flexible rods or wires (which could be made to vibrate by the spectator) were hung in front of bands of closely meshed lines (Horizontal Movement, 1963, Tate). In the 1960s he gained an international reputation and he had numerous public commissions, including two murals for the UNESCO Building in Paris (1970) and several works in Caracas, notably the ceiling of the Teresa Carreno Theatre (1983). In 1973 he founded a museum of modern art in his home city.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.