Yves Klein

I had to get that farmer’s card down shoving off down the page. Gold leaf seems to be the antidote.

We’ve had Klein before, in the Klein Blue that OS admired so much. I like him, and have only just discovered that he was an expert at, and wrote a book on, Judo. He’s probably most famous for painting naked ladies and rolling them about walls as human paintbrushes; nice work if you can get it. In his performance piece, Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle (Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility) 1959-62, Klein offered empty spaces in exchange for gold. He wanted his buyers to experience The Void by selling them empty space. In his view this experience could only be paid for in the purest material: gold. In exchange, he gave a certificate of ownership to the buyer. As the second part of the piece, performed on the Seine with an art critic in attendance, if the buyer agreed to set fire to the certificate, Klein would throw half the gold into the river, in order to restore the “natural order” that he had unbalanced by selling the empty space (that was now not “empty” anymore). He used the other half of the gold to create a series of gold-leafed works like this one above. I love gold leaf, I gilded the odd mirror in my rag-rolling period. I particular love the registration mark where one sheet overlays the edge of the next and forms that denser line.

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4 Responses to Yves Klein

  1. calvininjax says:

    Gold Leaf, eh? But I thought you had given up smoking. ;)

  2. makemeadiva says:

    I’m a bit worried about the purpose of the art critic in all this gold leaf business.

  3. Stephen Foster says:

    Has any man ever really given up smoking?

  4. Stephen Foster says:

    Like a bookie at a race track; a sin-eater.

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