Yves Klein (1928 –1962) was a French artist and an important figure in post-war European art. He was a leading member of the French artistic movement of Nouveau réalisme founded in 1960. Klein was a pioneer in the development of performance art and is seen as an inspiration to and as a forerunner of minimal art as well as pop art.
During his adolescence Yves Klein met Arman who also was born in Nice in 1928. At the age of 19 they divided the world between them. Arman chose the earth, the material world, and Yves Klein the infinite sky, the spiritual world. Klein and Arman were continually involved with each other both creatively, as Nouveaux realists and as close friends. The two worked together for many years and Arman even named his son, Yves Arman, after Yves Klein who was his godfather.
By choosing to express feeling rather than figurative form, Yves Klein moved beyond ideas of artistic representation, conceiving the work of art instead as a trace of communication between the artist and the world; invisible truth made visible. Yves Klein’s practice revealed of new way of conceptualising the role of the artist.
Yves Klein used blue as the vehicle for his quest to capture immateriality and the infinite. His celebrated bluer-than-blue hue, soon to be named ‘IKB’ (International Klein Blue), radiates colourful waves, engaging not only the eyes of the viewer, but in fact allowing us see with our souls, to read with our imaginations.
From monochromes, to the void, to his ‘technique of living brushes’ or ‘Anthropometry’; by way of his deployment of nature’s elements in order to manifest their creative life-force; and his use of gold as a portal to the absolute; Yves Klein developed a ground-breaking practice that broke down boundaries between conceptual art, sculpture, painting, and performance.