IKB (International Klein Blue) 79 (1959)
“Having arrived in that place, in the monochrome adventure, I no longer had to make myself function; I simply functioned.
I was no longer myself; I, without the “I”, became one with life itself. All my gestures, movements, activities, creations were original, essential life in itself. It was during this period that I said: “Painting is no longer for me a function of the eye. My works are only the ashes of my art.” I doggedly turned my canvases into monochromes, then the all-powerful blue emerged and reigns still as it will always.”
– Yves Klein, “Le vrai devient réalité”
Yves Klein in the Void Room (Raum der Leere), Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld, January 1961.
“IN 1958, YVES KLEIN scandalized the Parisian public by presenting nothing but a whitewashed room with a lone, empty vitrine at Galerie Iris Clert. The exhibition, known as “Le Vide” (The Void), was marked by the momentousness of its opening. Among the guests was Albert Camus, who presented Klein with a piece of paper bearing the phrase “Avec le vide les pleins pouvoirs” (With the void, full powers). The room, Klein asserted, contained an “invisible pictorial state,” one that is “direct” and requires no “intermediaries.” Yet these claims of pure presence had to be reinforced: Klein limited the number of visitors allowed in the room at one time by stationing a pair of security guards at the gallery’s entrance, served cocktails that tinged drinkers’ urine blue, and retrospectively wrote a hyperbolic account of the event in the present tense. In all respects, “The Void” was a highly mediated event, one that teased the public with the promise of empowerment – granting them freedom from ossified pictorial conventions and inviting them to unleash their own “affective presence” – while allowing Klein to keep authority firmly in his grasp.”
– From “Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers”, Nuit Banai, Artforum International 49.1, Sep 2010 (p. 318-19)