Monochrome bleu, sans titre (IKB 63)
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This work by the French artist Yves Klein is a monochrome blue painting. The paint, consisting of pigment powder and synthetic resin, was applied to the canvas with a roller. The paint secures the canvas to the wooden panel on which it has been stretched. The paint has been applied matt and very evenly. For the viewer there is no point of orientation; there is only an intense radiant ultramarine blue.
From 1949 Yves Klein painted works in a single colour. He believed that every colour has its own individuality and is able to radiate an immaterial strength. According to Klein, the colour blue has the greatest intensity and is the colour which represents liberation from the material world most powerfully. He experimented with different industrial powder paints until he discovered the most intense blue and called this IKB (International Klein Blue). Klein’s intention was to achieve a degree of contemplation in the viewer through his monochrome paintings in which “the colours become pure and full sensibility.” The viewer is no longer looking at a blue painting, but is in a way assimilated in the blue. The eye no longer sees paint, just colour and depth.
At an exhibition in Milan in 1957 Klein presented only blue paintings and then went on to conquer the world with IKB. Klein created blue objects, he smeared blue paint over nude models and had them print their body on a canvas, he poured a blue cocktail for his guests at an opening with the result that their urine was blue for seven days, he made a plan to shed a blue light on the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. In addition to blue, Klein also used pink and gold leaf in his later work. Klein’s work reveals a curious tension between reality and utopia. On the one hand, it has a mystical intensity; on the other hand, it expresses an ironic attitude to art. In 1958 he exhibited 'Le Vide (Emptiness)' in Galerie Iris Clert in Paris. The night before the opening, he locked himself into the empty gallery and filled the space with “mental images”.
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