Preview - Yves Klein at Tate Liverpool
This October Tate Liverpool presents the UK’s first solo exhibition in more than 20 years of the French artist Yves Klein. An iconic figure of the post-war era, Klein is well known for his monochromatic painting, primarily using his own unique pigment International Klein Blue. Along with his sculpture and performance work, the exhibition presents around 30 major pieces and explores in-depth the full range of his work.
Klein’s career was marked by a bold attitude to the relationship between art and life and, at the age of 19, the artist symbolically signed the depthless blue sky using his finger, declaring it as his first artwork. This playful approach, along with a critical attacking of many of the ideas that underpinned the abstract painting that had been dominant in France since the end of the Second World War, had Klein likened to the artist Marcel Duchamp.
Klein’s interest in the relationship between art and infinite space embraced painting, sculpture, and performance among other forms. His work pioneered new attitudes that took the European art world by storm and would set the way for later movements including pop, conceptual, minimal, installation and performance art.
This exhibition explores works from across Klein’s major series including paintings using his dazzling signature International Klein Blue (IKB), a distinctive ultramarine able to invoke a powerfully depthless sense of space on the surface of the work. Also displayed will be his Anthropometry paintings which challenged conventional boundaries between performance and painting by choreographing nude models as living paint brushes to deploy pigment. The exhibition further presents Klein’s pyrotechnic Fire Paintings, created using a flame thrower, his sponge sculptures, planetary-reliefs and pure-colour monochrome paintings.
Tate Liverpool brings together major works never before seen in the UK, which all contribute to Klein’s vision to express absolute immateriality and infinite space through pure colour. The trajectory of Klein’s artistic project is complemented by photography that reflects the breadth of his artistic vision. These images demonstrate how Klein managed his own image through personal and publicity photographs that present him as an artist, visionary showman and judo master, among many other guises.
Though Klein died in 1962, aged only 34, he created a powerful body of ground-breaking work. The exhibition celebrates his controversial and avant-garde practice and iconic output of work that is irreplaceable in the canon and evolution of contemporary art and continues to inspire today.
Yves Klein will be shown at Tate Liverpool from 21 October 2016 - 5 March 2017 and will be shown in conjunction with both the first UK retrospective by Edward Krasiński (1925–2004) and the first solo exhibition in a UK public institution of London-based artist Cécile B. Evans.
Image Credit: © Charles Wilp / BPK, Berlin