Yves Klein

Grande Anthropophagie bleue, Hommage à Tennessee Williams, 1960

Anthropométrie sans titre [Untitled anthropometry], 1960

Le Silence est d’or [Silence is Golden], 1960

Sculpture éponge bleu sans titre [Untitled blue sponge sculpture], 1959

“Le Saut dans le vide” [The Leap into the Void], 5, rue Gentil-Bernard, Fontenay-aux-Roses, October 1960
Artistic action by Yves Klein

Monochrome bleu sans titre [Untitled blue monochrome], 1960

Ex-voto for Saint Rita of Cascia by Yves Klein, 1961

View of the exhibition. Room 13. Trilogy

YVES KLEIN: BODY, COLOUR, IMMATERIAL

The fact that the interpretation of Yves Klein’s work is centred on the colour blue is partly due to the artist’s short life (1928-1962), which prevented him from developing all his projects to the extent they deserved. This shortened perspective has masked the diversity of his productions, which was nevertheless a feature of his approach from the outset.

Exhibited in 1955 under the title Yves, Peintures [Yves, Paintings], the first Monochromes were multicoloured. It was to make them more capable of carrying out the function that Yves Klein assigned to painting – to invest a space with sensibility – that he restricted them in 1957 to the colour blue alone, blue being the colour of the sky. Nevertheless, this blue domination was accompanied, more discreetly, by the regular production of the Monopinks, continuously from 1955 on, at the rhythm of one or two per year, as if he were keeping his other creative options open. Within his concept of space and sensibility, Klein also created reliefs, sponge sculptures, applied himself to working directly on the void during the 1958 exhibition at Iris Clert’s gallery entitled La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée [The specialisation of sensibility in the raw material state into stabilised pictorial sensibility] and moved towards performance art.

In 1959, he established the equivalence of the three colours, blue, gold and pink, as he announced in a lecture he gave at the Sorbonne: “Blue, gold and pink are of the same nature. Any exchange at the level of these three states is honest.” A plurality of colours re-entered his work. In the same year, he made receipts to be handed over to buyers of his artistic sensibility zones in exchange for small gold ingots. The first models had a blue cover, a gold grid pattern with writing in pink; these receipts were destined to be burned.

The Monogolds appeared at the same time as the Cosmogonies and the Anthropometries, in 1960, followed by the Peintures de Feu [Fire Paintings] in 1961. All these works, in which the painting appears to break free from its frame, evoke themes of passage and ritual. The passage from the visible to the invisible is embodied particularly in one of his last pieces, simultaneously artistic and religious: a box filled with gold powder and blue and pink pigments created in 1961 as an ex-voto dedicated to Saint Rita, the patron saint of the impossible.

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