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Yves Klein, Selected Writtings, Originally published by The Tate Gallery 1974. Translation by Barbara Wright, Original ISBN 0 900874. ubuclassics, www ubu com, SELECTED WRITINGS, YVES KLEIN. ubuclassics, Introduction 8, Selected Writings 10, In England the work of Klein is better known by report than by direct experi. ence Like a number of other artists therefore his influence has been exerted not so. much through his paintings as through the character of his activities generally. However at all times he continued to paint and make splendid art works in other. materials as well as to carry out document and publicise his activities These two. sides cannot be separated both emanate from and objectify the same sensibility. The present exhibition including this catalogue aims to present the whole range of. his activities as far as possible in a concise form. Klein s work lends itself very well to this mode of presentation Although. immensely varied in its means it seems to divide into sections naturally and with. unusual clarity as if it were the chapters of a book each chapter pressing home one. particular point This characteristic does not of course rob Klein s art of subtlety. mystery or ambiguity quite the reverse it is perhaps the result of his trenchant. often theatrical or ritualistic modes of expression Certain of his activities have. therefore a quality which makes them at once memorable mythical and self defin. ing At the same time they are all concerned with a single constellation of ideas. I shall not attempt to describe what this is since it is expressed in Klein s own. words in translation by means of the quotations scattered throughout this book and. can easily be discerned as the thread which connects the events in the chronology of. his doings and writings Klein turned his attention to aspects of the art process or. system that have been among the dominant concerns of artists in all countries since. his death He did this of course in his own way and with intentions that may have. been very different from those of his successors, However it seems right to try to point out here without arguing precedents.
those aspects of his work which have been prophetic or influential even at the risk of. over interpreting or putting anachronistic ideas into his head. Comparing him with the artists who dominated the art world in the 1950s the. Abstract Expressionists Tachists and survivors of the School of Paris the most obvi. ous thing is that while all of them produced a series of complete paintings or sculp. ture which varied from one to another and evolved more or less rapidly in style in. the attempt to express new thoughts or feelings Klein produced a whole sequence of. paintings which were without any internal relationships to be varied and were iden. tical except in size and hue, Sometimes altogether identical in appearance they were distinguished only by. the fact that they were materially separate His own account of this is given on pp. 27 and 28 and more obliquely in his Malevitch cartoon on p 31 At the same time. he may be said to have finally eliminated representation from painting by eschewing. even the abstract painting of mental objects and to have launched an attack on the. notion of the unique art work as a medium of expression. After this he applied the same usually blue paint to various objects often. sponges attached to rods and panels This may be seen as a way of fusing the two. senses of painting A paints a picture of B A paints puts paint on B In this way. he raises the object to that special level of aesthetic attention sensibility and univer. sality that he desired but at the same time it remained a real object a metaphor but. not an illusion, The Anthropometries Fire Paintings and Cosmogonies although they have. more of the air of traditional paintings develop a similar theme They represent the. physical result of the collaboration of the artist with natural or human participants. Klein did not unilaterally determine the outcome he produced the situation and. even directed it and revelled in its theatrical possibilities but the work carried the. direct imprint of the physical body of his collaborator Three other works appear. even more prophetic In 1958 he exhibited the Iris Clert Gallery painted white and. empty to be guarded by men in the uniform of the Garde Republicaine In 1960 he. exchanged certificates of Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility for gold the. certification only being complete when it and half the gold had been destroyed or. In the same year he leaped from the first floor of a building in order to create. the photograph of A Man in Space injuring himself as he fell to the ground. All three works exemplify his astonishing fantasy and his will to go beyond the. conventional limits of art At the same time even more decisively than in his. Monochromes they contest the notion of a work of art as a human manifestation. that becomes at once an object of commercial speculation In the last mentioned he. confined the work to a single dangerous moment in the existence of his own person. A photograph and photomontages were all that was left In the case of the Zones of. Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility photographs counterfoils and samples of gold leaf. remained as evidence of the art work but there was no clear distinction of art work. and document on record This combination with many variations and additions. has become a frequent one in the art of the late 60s and 70s. Although it is now nearly twelve years since Yves Klein died he would have. been only 46 this year and his work seems as relevant to the concerns of artists. today as if he had still been living It has never stood in higher esteem. Michael Comptou, Keeper of Exhibitions, Introduction. Who better to write about Yves Klein than Klein himself. We have selected short extracts from Klein s own notebooks documents and. talks describing the more important events and stages of his development. These texts are arranged chronologically by the date of the event described not. by the date of the text itself, The photographs accompanying these writings are illustrations of the events or. copies of documents we have chosen not to reproduce any paintings or sculpture. Yves Klein 1929, I arrived on earth in 1928 Born into a milieu of painters I acquired my taste for.
painting with my mother s milk, In 1946 when I was still an adolescent I went and signed my name on the other side. of the sky during a fantastic realistico imaginary voyage. It was in 1947 that the idea of a conscious monochrome vision came to me I ought. to say that at that time it was rather through my intellect that it came it was the result. of all the passionate researches I was then engaged in Pure existential space was reg. ularly winking at me each time in a more impressive manner and this sensation of. total freedom attracted me so powerfully that I painted some monochrome surfaces. just to see to see with my own eyes what existential sensibility granted me absolute. freedom But each time I could neither imagine nor think of the possibility of con. sidering this as a painting a picture until the day when I said Why not. The score of the Symphonie Monoton, Around 1947 8 I created a monotone symphony whose theme is what I want my life. to be This symphony lasts for forty minutes and consists of one single continuous. long drawn out sound it has neither beginning nor end which creates a dizzy feel. ing a sense of aspiration of a sensibility outside and beyond time. In Venice 1948 Yves Klein still wore the shirt imprited with marks of his. Yves Klein 1928 1962 Selected Writtings Originally published by The Tate Gallery 1974 Translation by Barbara Wright Original ISBN 0 900874 ubuclassics

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