Friday, July 19, 2013


Photographic performance TAP gallery Sydney.

Yves Klein, France | 1928-1962

Selected Writings, 1928-1962 (1974, The Tate Gallery) [PDF, 3.8mb]

Yves Klein 1928-1962

Anthropometries of the Blue Period and Fire Paintings: Two Performances (1960)


1. The Monotone Symphony (1949, rec. March 9, 1960)

      On a clear night in March at ten pm sharp a crowd of one hundred people, all dressed in black tie attire, came to the Galerie International d'Art Contemporain in Paris. The event was the first conceptual piece to be shown at this gallery by their new artist Mr. Yves Klein. The gallery was one of the finest in Paris. 

      Mr. Klein in a black dinner jacket proceeded to conduct a ten piece orchestra in his personal composition of The Monotone Symphony, which he had written in 1949. This symphony consisted of one note.

       Three models appeared, all with very beautiful naked bodies. They were then conducted as was the full orchestra by Mr. Klein. The music began. The models then rolled themselves in the blue paint that had been placed on giant pieces of artist paper - the paper had been carefully placed on one side of the galleries' wall and floor area - opposite the full orchestra. Everything was composed so breathtakingly beautifully. The spectacle was surely a metaphysical and spiritual event for all. This went on for twenty minutes. When the symphony stopped it was followed by a strict twenty minutes of silence, in which everyone in the room willingly froze themselves in their own private meditation space.

       At the end of Yves' piece everyone in the audience was fully aware they had been in the presence of a genius at work, the piece was a huge success! Mr. Klein triumphed. It would be his greatest moment in art history, a total success. 

 The spectacle had unquestionable poetic beauty, and Mr. Kleins' last words that night were, "THE MYTH IS IN ART".

- M.Lewis -

2. Monotone Symphony 2010 (realized by Martin A. Smith)

In March 1960, at the Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain, Paris, Yves Klein presented his Monotone Symphony and Anthropometries of the Blue Period.

Klein conducted a ten-piece orchestra in his personal composition the Monotone Symphony, a work he had written in 1949. This symphony consisted of a single tone. As the orchestra played his composition, three beautiful naked models rolled themselves in blue paint and then pressed their bodies onto giant pieces of paper to create paintings.

On March the 1st, 2010, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this major event in contemporary art, video and sound artists Quadratura presented a new performance at the GV Art Gallery in London.

On this occasion Martin A. Smith played his reworking of the Monotone Symphony and Alex May re-created The Anthropometries of the Blue Period images using their bespoke interactive video projection software.

Light was projected at a plain white wall and as the performers stood still their silhouettes slowly filled in with colour. When the performers moved the colours merged into one another to create a changing and evolving image.

Yves Klein's Le Rose du bleu & Rélief éponge bleu

“We wanted to develop Klein’s idea of physically distancing the artist from the artistic process, of becoming a catalyst rather than a protagonist. By utilising interactive light as an artistic medium, we have further realised Klein’s ideal of an entirely timeless experience, where the art created by the dancers does not ever physically exist; its passing marked only in memory.”

Martin A. Smith

Alex May


3. Conference á La Sorbonne (1959)

Edition limitee numero 448/500 no label but marked R.P.M. Paris in tiny print on the inner of the beautiful blue gatefold. Spoken word pressure direct from the sweat lodge of the Sorbonne June '59. The anthropologists who recorded this go uncredited but no doubt they will have canoed up the Boulevard St. Michel and negotiated a perilous passage through the hallowed halls using a rigourous dialectical smokescreen and the odd bone thrown to the rude waiters. Klein is pumped up and telling it to his tribe. They are voracious and devour everything he dishes into his conceptual cauldron. Sadly the xylophone orchestra and the nose flute guy flaked and never showed up. The recording suffers but this is still an essential purchase for those needing up a level in monochromatics and folks desiring a psychic passport to the contemplative state experienced in "Le Monde Du Bleu".


Yves Klein From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Yves Klein (28 April 1928 - 6 June 1962) was a French artist.

Klein was born in Nice. Both his parents were painters. He lived in Japan for a time, becoming an expert in judo, before settling in Paris and beginning to exhibit his work there. Many of these early paintings were monochrome and in a variety of colours.

By the late 1950s, Klein's monochrome works were almost exclusively in a deep blue hue which he eventually patented as International Klein Blue (IKB). As well as conventionally made paintings, in a number of works Klein had naked female models covered in blue paint dragged across or laid upon canvases to make the image, using the models as brushes. Sometimes the creation of these paintings was turned into a kind of performance art - an event in 1960, for example, had an audience dressed in formal evening wear watching the models go about their task while an instrumental ensemble played Klein's The Monotone Symphony, which consisted of a single sustained note.

Klein also made sculptures in deep blue, and worked with fire, creating some sculptures using it, and setting fire to some of his canvases, thus making scorched holes in them.

Klein is also well known for a photograph, Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void), which apparently shows him jumping off a wall, arms outstretched, towards the pavement.

Klein is considered an important figure in post-war European neo-dadaism. He engaged in such provocations as "publishing" a chapbook containing only empty pages and selling empty spaces in exchange for gold which he then threw into the river Seine.

Klein died in Paris of a heart attack.

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