YVES KLEIN – PURE PIGMENT
In 2018, the Venet Foundation took part in celebrations marking the 90th birthday of Yves Klein, probably the most influential French artist of the postwar period.
During his short life (1928-1962), Klein created a number of emblematic works of art, including the famous blue monochromes, painted in an intense ultramarine that he would later call IKB (International Klein Blue) and had patented in 1960; the Anthropometries; the Fire Paintings; the Zones de sensibilité picturales immatérielles, or Immaterial Pictorial Emotion Zones; the Vide exhibition, or Void in 1958 at the Iris Clert Gallery; and the Monotone-Silence Symphony, dreamed up in 1947-1948 and consisting of a single note played for twenty minutes followed by twenty minutes of silence.
In 1957, while showing paintings at Iris Clert’s, Klein simultaneously held an exhibition entitled Pigment Pur at Colette Allendy’s gallery. The latter featured a Fire Painting that the artist created in the gallery courtyard, folding screens covered in ultramarine blue, and an installation of pigments done directly on the floor whose title also served as the name of the show. This work has never been displayed in anything like these dimensions, which push Klein’s horizon even further back. The installation took up all of the floor of the Venet Foundation’s exhibition space, seemingly as far as the eye can see. And as Matisse pointed out, “One square centimetre of blue isn’t as blue as one square meter of the same blue.” We can affirm today that 200 m² of IKB is more IKB than one square meter of the same IKB.