Thursday, December 2, 2010

Walker Visit: How can this be art? ....It's just blue.

Untitled Blue Monochrome
Yves Klein
Dry pigment in synthetic resin on canvas

When I look at this painting i see just blue paint. It reminds me of the ocean or of blueberries. This piece makes me angry because all it really is, is blue paint on a canvas, I feel like a 5-year-old could do the same thing. It's hard to really gather the point that he is trying to make with this work, I would need to do further research.

Yves Klein was a French artist that was considered an important figure in post-war European art. He first started out painting monochromes in 1949 and his first exhibition was in 1950. His first public showing featured the publication of his book "Yves: Peintures" in 1954. The book was a parody of a traditional catalogue and showed a series of intense monochromes that were linked to various cities he had lived in over the years. The viewers of this exhibition took it the wrong way and thought the art to be a new kind of bright, abstract interior decoration. Klein was shocked by this misunderstanding and decided to focus on one single primary color, which as you can guess is blue.
His next exhibition featured 11 canvases that featured the same pigment. This pigment Klein would later patent and would become famous as the "International Klein Blue". This show had a lot of commercial success and at the Iris Clert Gallery became a seminal happening.
He later experimented with various forms of applying the paint, such as using sponges to create different surfaces.
Now that I have read more about his work I can agree more that this is a type of art. Klein likes to work with simple monochrome colors but he experiments with different ways of applying the paint. He does not do it in a boring and simple way. He sometimes even turned the creating of his paintings into performance art.
His work revolves around a Zen-influenced concept that he described as "le Vide" (The Void) His work has been presented in many forms that are recognized as art, such as books, paintings, and a musical composition fact composiProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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in wanted his art to be represented by their imprint: the image of their absence. I find it very interesting that he does not go about creating art in the normal ways but makes events out of them. This fact in itself sets him apart as a very unique artist. He has taking the act of painting and kicked it up a notch, and it worked. His works are still being displayed in galleries today.

Before I had done some research on Klein and I visited the Walker and saw this painting I thought, "I could make this, and so could a five-year-old." But now I see that its not really just about the color for Klein, it's about the emotions and processes that Klein puts into the making of his work that truly makes this a very unique form of art.


  1. Katie, I'm really glad you chose to do the research on this piece. I was really bothered by this particular artist in general, actually. It makes more sense to me now that it is not just the pigment that Klein has deemed art, but the way the pigment is placed on the canvas.

  2. I completely agreed with you, I really didn't understand the meaning of this piece or how anyone would find it to be anything more than simple color on canvas. After reading your research I to can appreciate his style and art.

  3. When I first say this piece I also thought how ridiculous it was for a painted blue canvas to be called art and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Yves Klein almost needs to have his bio posted next to his work in the Walker for people to understand it.