Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers
Text by Kerry Brougher, Philippe Vergne, Klaus Ottmann, Kaira M. Cabañas, Andria Hickey.
One of the last century's most influential artists, Yves Klein (1928–1962) took the European art scene by storm in a prolific career that lasted only from 1954 to 1962, when he suffered a heart attack at the age of 34. Klein was an innovator who embraced painting, sculpture, performance, photography, music, theater, film, architecture and theoretical writing. Self-identified as “the painter of space,” Klein sought to achieve immaterial spirituality through pure color (primarily an ultramarine blue of his own invention—International Klein Blue) and even went so far as to present white galleries emptied of all artworks for his renowned 1958 exhibition of “the Void.” His diverse oeuvre represents a pivotal transition from modern art's concern with the material object to contemporary notions of the conceptual nature of art. Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers is published to accompany the first major retrospective of the artist's work in the United States in nearly 30 years. It includes examples from all of Klein's major series, including his Anthropometries, Cosmogonies, fire paintings, planetary reliefs and blue monochromes, as well as selections of his lesser-known gold and pink monochromes, body and sponge reliefs, “air architecture” and immaterial works. Essays by curators Kerry Brougher and Philippe Vergne, Klein scholar Klaus Ottmann, art historian Kaira M. Cabañas and curatorial fellow Andria Hickey, as well as archival materials and translations of Klein's published and unpublished writings, offer insights into the artist's endeavors and process.
Born in Nice, France, in 1928, Yves Klein created what he considered his first artwork when he signed the sky above Nice in 1947, making his earliest attempt to capture the immaterial. The artist carved out new aesthetic and theoretical territory based on his study of the mystical sect Rosicrucianism, philosophical and poetic investigations of space and science, and the practice of Judo, which he described as “the discovery of the human body in a spiritual space.”