ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 6/27/2016

Christian Patterson: Bottom of the Lake

DATE 6/5/2016

Nancy Princenthal Talk & Agnes Martin Book Signing at ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

DATE 6/4/2016

Meghan Boody Launch Event at Harper's Books, East Hampton

DATE 6/4/2016

Come to Our Los Angeles Sample Sale!

DATE 6/2/2016

Joanna Ebenstein to Launch 'Anatomical Venus' at the Strand

DATE 5/31/2016

Summer of Love

DATE 5/30/2016

Picturing America's National Parks

DATE 5/29/2016

Picturing America's National Parks

DATE 5/28/2016

Picturing America's National Parks

DATE 5/26/2016

Snøhetta: People, Process, Projects

DATE 5/25/2016

Nobuyoshi Araki: The Banquet

DATE 5/24/2016

Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast

DATE 5/23/2016

Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem

DATE 5/22/2016

Slash: A History of the Legendary LA Punk Magazine, 1977-1980

DATE 5/21/2016

Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, Vavoom

DATE 5/21/2016

Kristin Capp Talk and Signing at University Bookstore Seattle

DATE 5/20/2016

Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus

DATE 5/20/2016

Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem at Art Institute of Chicago

DATE 5/19/2016

In Search of the Ecstatic, Sublime & Uncanny

DATE 5/19/2016

The Anatomical Venus: Wax, God, Death & the Ecstatic

DATE 5/18/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education

DATE 5/18/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education

DATE 5/17/2016

Yayoi Kusama: Give Me Love, My Heart

DATE 5/16/2016

Agnes Martin On a Clear Day

DATE 5/14/2016

Olivia Bee & BØRNS Launch 'Kids in Love' at ARCANA

DATE 5/14/2016

Dashwood Presents Robert Cumming Signing 'The Difficulties of Nonsense'

DATE 5/13/2016

Marcel Duchamp: Boîte-en-valise

DATE 5/13/2016

Goshka Macuga: Before the Beginning and after the End

DATE 5/12/2016

Gerhard Richter: Panorama, A Retrospective, Expanded Edition

DATE 5/12/2016

Dave Hickey Talk & Signing at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

DATE 5/11/2016

Join ARTBOOK | D.A.P. at Book Expo!

DATE 5/10/2016

Chris Killip: In Flagrante Two, Rocker and his toad

DATE 5/10/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education Launch at Harvard CCVA

DATE 5/10/2016

Chris Killip Booklist

DATE 5/9/2016

Chris Killip: In Flagrante Two

DATE 5/8/2016

Happy Mother's Day!

DATE 5/7/2016

Wolfgang Tillmans: What’s Wrong with Redistribution?

DATE 5/6/2016

Mark Bradford: Tears of a Tree

DATE 5/6/2016

Rosalyn Drexler, Katy Siegel & Jonathan Lethem Launch 'Who Does She Think She Is?' at 192 Books

DATE 5/6/2016

On Curating 2: Paradigm Shifts Launch & PanelOn Curating 2 Launch & Panel with Carolee Thea

DATE 5/5/2016

Isa Genzken: Mach dich hübsch!

DATE 5/4/2016

Marcel Broodthaers: The Conquest of Space

DATE 5/3/2016

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar

DATE 5/2/2016

Walead Beshty Launch & Conversation at Printed Matter

DATE 5/2/2016

Hans Ulrich Obrist In Conversation with Pedro Reyes

DATE 5/2/2016

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Diana Vreeland

DATE 5/1/2016

Cinco de Mayo!

DATE 5/1/2016

Marianne Vitale Launches 'Train Wreck' at 192 Books

DATE 5/1/2016

Lipstick Flavor: Mickalene Thomas

DATE 5//2016

Paul McCarthy Book Launch at ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

DATE 5//2016

Paul McCarthy Book Launch at ARTBOOK @ Hauser Wirth & Schimmel


EXCERPTS & ESSAYS

KLAUS OTTMANN | DATE 8/18/2010

Yves Klein's "Ethics" of Style
By Klaus Ottmann from Yves Klein By Himself, published by Dilecta, 2010

Yves Klein (1928-1962) was an agitator of ideas, a total artist who used his considerable charisma to propagate social change through art. In his writings and talks, Klein drew on a vast repertoire of philosophical, scientific, political and occult materials, synthesizing them into a declamatory propaganda for his own art. Yves Klein by Himself is a composite biography of one of the most influential artists of the second half of the twentieth century. Neither an intellectual biography nor an art-historical analysis, Yves Klein by Himself is rather a kind of "Klein reader" that lets the artist speak through his ideas and philosophical conceptions, and in doing so attempts to reconstruct his "organized network of obsessions." To this end, it intermixes biographical facts, a selection of texts by the writers and artists who influenced Klein, a glossary of keywords with Klein's own definitions derived from published texts as well as previously unpublished manuscripts and a selection of critical writings with analyses of Klein's philosophical ideas by the author and editor of this volume, Klein scholar Klaus Ottmann.

The following excerpt, from Chapter V, presents Ottmann's brilliant explication of Klein's "ethics" of style.

V: Grace into Style

Style is the general necessity seen sub specie aeterni.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

Style is the ultimate morality of mind.
Alfred North Whitehead

When Yves Klein arrived in New York to show his blue monochromes at Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1961, the New York art world objected not so much to his work than to his style. For years to come, American reviewers continued to focus on Klein’s appearance, dismissing him as an “entertainer and idea man.” American Pop art, as Roland Barthes observed so keenly, was anti-style; it was about neutralizing identity:

"Pop art is well aware that the fundamental expression of the person is style. As Buffon said (a celebrated remark, once known to every French schoolboy): “Style is the man.” Take away style and there is no longer any (individual) man. The notion of style, in all the arts, has therefore been linked, historically, to a humanism of the person... There is, as I see it, a certain relation between pop art and what is called “script,” that anonymous writing style sometimes taught to dysgraphic children because it is inspired by the neutral and, so to speak, elementary features of typography. Further, we must realize that if pop art depersonalizes, it does not make anonymous: nothing is more identifiable than Marilyn...; they are in fact nothing but that: ...teaching us that identity is not the person: the future world risks being a world of identities... but not of persons."

Klein’s emphasis on style must be viewed in the context of the French notion of civilization. Unlike his contemporaries, especially the Teutonic-shamanistic Joseph Beuys or the orgiastic Viennese actionists Otto Mühl and Hermann Nitzsch, Klein always presented himself and his art in a proper, civilized manner – notably during his performances of the Anthropometries, when he directing his “living brushes” from a distance like a Master of Ceremonies, never touching the models or the paintings with his own hands.

In 1828 the historian and future Prime Minister of France, François Guizot announced, in his lectures on the “The General History of Civilization in Europe,” that “France has been... the home of civilization in Europe,” and, by 1852, when Alphonse de Lamartine, the nineteenth-century poet and politician, founded the journal Le Civilisateur, civilization had become synonymous with France.

Unlike Beuys in Germany and Klein in France, Andy Warhol shifted artistic personality from himself onto his objects, or even his critics (he would frequently tell interviewers to write his answers to their questions). Klein’s style is an essential part of his art and of its humanism. Even when he yielded the actual production of a painting to his models during the making of his Anthropometries, he never conceded his role as an artist. His presence in these performances was essential, very unlike the modus operandi of Warhol who would simply turn on his film camera and walk away, letting those in front of the camera take control. (“I make nothing happen.”)

Wittgenstein’s famous dictum that “ethics and aesthetics are one” has to be read in the context of the philosopher’s understanding of philosophy as a living practice. Ethics includes an aesthetical component, and vice versa. For Wittgenstein – as for Nietzsche before him – art and morality are closely tied. All aesthetic activity is also ethical, just as philosophy is a practice of life, a Lebensphilosophie. It is through style that philosophical and aesthetical practices become authentic. Philosophy and art are forms of life:

"To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life [Lebensform]."

Language is an activity or a form of life: “The term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life.”

Wittgenstein’s note about style that serves as an epigraph to this chapter was written in the 1930s but is directly related to a remark found in his notebooks of 1915–16:

"The work of art is the object seen sub specie aeternitatis; and the good life is the world seen sub specie aeternitatis. This is the connection between art and ethics."

Both remarks relate to a reference in Spinoza’s Ethics to “sub specie aeternitatis” (under the aspect of eternity, i.e., universally and eternally true), which Spinoza links to human freedom. Hegel writes about Spinoza’s Ethics that there is “no purer and loftier morality... ; the eternal truth is man’s sole purpose for his actions.” In Book II of his Ethics, Spinoza introduces the notion of ideas as active concepts rather than passive perceptions (at conceptus actionem mentis exprimere videtur) and ties these active ideas to man’s free will (libera voluntas).

In a letter to the Austrian publisher Ludwig von Ficker, Wittgenstein writes that the meaning of his Tractatus is “ethical,” and that the work consists of two parts – a written and an unwritten one:

"My work consists of two parts: what is on hand and everything I did not write. And it is precisely this second part that is most important. The Ethical is quasi defined from within by my book."

Style endows language and art with authenticity: it gives them an authentic voice, grounds them in life. For Klein, as for Wittgenstein, the work consists of two parts: one is materialized in the pigment; the other is immaterial, lived, or enacted in performances. Style is not a fashioning of power to attain a desired end but an ethical practice: to exist as a living work of art[.]


Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself
Yves Klein By Himself

Yves Klein By Himself

Yves Klein By Himself

EDITIONS DILECTA
Hbk, 4.5 x 7.5 in. / 440 pgs.



ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com