[APRIL/MAY 2016]

Ranivilu Art Gallery presents “3: Perez Flores, Perez and Zerep” an exhibition that gathers for the rst time in Miami the works of the Perez Flores brothers. The talent of these brothers, whose sensibility and pure genius got enriched from the family circle, and grew as they developed into in uential international artists.

This story began at the end of the 60’s when the “3” brothers earned scholarships and acknowledgements to further their careers in Europe. It was that journey that allowed them to develop an independent artistic language and achieve an exquisite level to engage in dialogue with the most in uential international creative of the time. It is with great pleasure that Ranivilu Art Gallery, selected pieces for this show that contrasts the valuable contributions to the visual arts from the Perez Flores brothers.


It is not a coincidence that all sons from the couple Perez Flores: Dario, Rafael and the twins Jorge and Yrian (the only girl) developed an artistic inclination. The father Jose Andres Perez, an amateur photographer, encouraged creativity and curiosity among his children allowing them to work together coloring photographs, creating frames and copying art pieces that he used to get on his trips to Puerto Cabello. Meanwhile, Eloisa Flores, the mother, proudly confessed that her mission in life had been to bring up four artistic children to the world. Eloisa also admitted that she had been able to discover her own talent as an abstract and constructivist artist through her children.


As most Venezuelan artists from their generation, the Perez Flores began depicting rural and local scene. Rafael joined the “Escuela de Artes Plasticas Arturo Michelena”1 in Valencia in 1952, followed by Dario in 1955. Jorge (Zerep), the youngest of the siblings (who took on the name Zerep to distinguish himself from his siblings), joined the same school in 1965. This was a dif cult time to be an independent artist in Venezuela as the most important art schools were pinned between gurative and landscape tradition, and completely outdated from historical avant- garde and from any international visual arts events.


Accepting a wider visual arts language according to Modernity would take its time in Venezuela. It was not until 1948 that the rst “Exhibition of modern Pan-American painting” takes place at the “Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas” (MBA). That same year, the MBA showed the rst exhibition of abstract and non-objective painting mainly from the “Grupo Concreto Invencion” from Buenos Aires2. It was just in 1949 that Alejandro Otero, (the rst of the Venezuelan abstract artists formed in Paris), showed his “Cafeteras” (Coffee Pots) at the same museum. Otero’s paintings caused a critical uproar in culturally conservative Venezuela, which ultimately, helped trigger the emergence of modernist abstraction in Venezuela.

The road towards abstraction counted with the help of groups like “Taller Libre de Arte” (Caracas 1948-1952) and “Los Disidentes”, a group of Venezuelan artists in Paris (1950) who took as a commitment to update the visual arts in their home country. This rst wave of artists, along with a compact group of international artists to whom the Perez Flores brothers will join much later on, emphasizes “movement” and “the purity of shape and color from within”, outside of any representation. From 1955 on, the ranks of kinetic art, geometric abstraction and concrete art will strengthen in Paris with the signi cant support of Denise Rene ́s Gallery, who will take on the eldest of the brothers, Dario Perez Flores and consecrate his career as a kinetic artists.

It is important to note that, in 1957, during the years when Dario and Rafael Perez Flores were mere students; an agitated controversy about Abstract Art took place in Venezuela. The artist Alejandro Otero confronted Miguel Otero Silva, director of the newspaper “El Nacional” (one of the most important newspapers in Venezuela) because of Otero Silva’s stance on abstraction, who considered this movement “foreign to the people, divorced from their business and their feelings, a very cold and brainy conception, like an auxiliary and decorative art intended to decorate buildings”. The resistance to the abstraction by some intellectual groups in Venezuela seemed out of place, especially when modernity was imposed as a lifestyle in Caracas ́ heartbeat. The construction of The Central University of Venezuela’s (UCV) new Campus (1952-1956) marked a new milestone in the country. The vanguard construction, under the direction of renowned architect Carlos Raul Villanueva who imports to Venezuela the in uential and experimental spirit of the Bauhaus school, becomes the greatest lab of materials and ideas brought to the country.

The result was an outdoors museum and synthesis of the arts and urban modernity (declared world heritage site in 2000 by the UNESCO). The UCV project helped the country go through the threshold of gurative art that had held back the county for decades.


Despite the physical disappearance of the Bauhaus in the 1930’s, its in uential principle, “the collective above the individual” that progressively pretended to dilute individual expression within the artistic group, was deeply rooted in Europe. This is the atmosphere where Rafael Perez nds himself towards 1967 after leaving Venezuela and moving to Switzerland.

The New Movement (1961-1973) had propelled the “Op Art” and different artists and international groups operated on rational/experimental base, using scienti c methods, as well as new technologies and materials. We can talk about a logical evolution from the visionary Realistic Manifesto (1920) on which Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner introduced the notion “Kinetic rhythms” as the basic forms for the real time perception. It was the rst time the word “kinetic” had been embedded in art history, rebelling against static and representative art.

At the end of the 1960 ́s, the Perez Flores brothers encounter in Europe the persistent notion of “program” as an experimental base of an evolved Concrete Art, Lumino-Kinetic and Neo-constructivist. These tendencies that had been evolving in Europe for decades, where what appealed to Rafael, Dario and Zerep, respectively to embark in their study of color, form, movement, perception; although at this point, it results impossible to keep them enclosed within a speci c style.

The Perez Flores brothers ́ visual arts contribution lies on how they attune at ease the variables related to color and its spectrum (in Rafael and Dario ́s case), and to the vertiginous overlapping of shapes and composition levels, unleashed by Zerep. It is curious that common sense would lead the three of them to stand out mainly because of this irreverent dose: proposing variations or evading cautiously impositions or programs.