May 07, 2007

International Klein Blue

In 1956, Yves Klein met Iris Clert, who ran a small, twenty-square-meter gallery at 3, rue des Beaux-Arts, in Paris. February 21-March 7: the exhibition Yves, Propositions Monochromes, was held at the Colette Allendy gallery, 67, rue de l’Assomption, in Paris. Pierre Restany wrote a radical and provocative text for the invitation card. THE MINUTE OF TRUTH

To all those intoxicated with the machine and the big city, to the frenetics of rhythm, masturbated by reality, YVES offers a highly enriching cure of asthenic silence • Far beyond the outpourings of other worlds, already so imperceptible to our common sense of the reasonable, somewhat removed, no doubt, from what is called "the art of painting," at the level in any case of the most pure and essential emotional resonances, are these rigorously monochrome propositions: each of them sets off a visual field, a colored space, stripped of all graphic transcription and thus escaping from time’s duration, devoted to the unified expression of a certain tonality •

Over the heads of that convenient decoy, the average public, the old habitués of art informel will agree on the definition of a "nothing," a senseless attempt to bring the dramatic (and now classic) adventure of Malevich’s square to higher power • But here there is precisely neither square nor white ground, and we are at the heart of the question. The aggressivity of these various propositions of color, projected beyond the wall, is only apparent • The author demands from the spectator that intense and fundamental minute of truth without which all poetry would be incommunicable. His presentations are strictly objective, he has fled even the slightest pretext of integrating these colored spaces to the architecture. One cannot suspect him of any attempt to decorate the wall •

The beholder’s eye, so terribly contaminated by the exterior object, and only recently freed of the tyranny of representation, will search in vain for the unstable and elementary vibration, the sign whereby he is accustomed to recognize life, the essence and end of all creation… As though life were only movement • He is finally obliged to grasp the universal without the help of the gesture or the written trace, and then I ask this question: Where, at what degree of sensible evidence is situated the spiritual in art? • Has the omniscient dialectic made us into mechanisms of thought, incapable of any sincere focus? In the presence of these phenomena of pure contemplation, the answer will be given to you by the few men of goodwill who still survive.

• Pierre Restany •

  • Oh heavens. Is the dreaded Tyranny of Representation at it again? I thought I already told him to knock off all his terrible caterwauling and scram. But he never listens. So. What's up with the blue thing?
  • When art and OCD mix
  • Is it some sort Derek Jarmanesque experiment in meta-reality? I ask because all I see is a blank blue page.
  • Perhaps you're just being masturbated by reality.
  • I'd prefer to be masturbated by fantasy, but, um, yeah.
  • Fact is, however, Yves Klein made the decision to paint the canvas blue which is thus a choice, a representation of a "proposition". Clearly it would have been a more striking act not to paint the canvas at all. Then again, Klein ultimately did purchase the canvas, and this reeks of proposition too. If Klein was truly committed to this course of expression it follows logically that his most perfect act would be to kill himself as soon as he had the thought, or at least took up some other hobby like gardening, instead of painting anything at all.