Dreams of Desire 48 (Blue)

Yves Klein-Anthropometry 1960
On the 9th of March 1960, Yves Klein, one of the founders of the Nouveaux Realistes art movement and creator of the paint shade IKB (International Klein Blue) which he had used in a number of large-scale monochrome paintings, staged a unique event. At the International Gallery of Contemporary Art in Paris, before an audience consisting of the cream of the Parisian art world all decked in evening wear and an orchestra of nine musicians playing his own piece, The Monotone Symphony (which consisted of a single chord played for twenty minutes followed by twenty minutes of silence) Klein painted three nudes models in IKB, and using them as living paintbrushes preceded to give instructions as to where to place their bodies on the canvases that lined the floor and walls. The models positioned themselves, rolled around and dragged each other producing the paintings above and below, which Klein entitled Anthropometries. As this was first and foremost a work of Performance Art, photographs were taken of the show, also shown below.

Personally I love IKB which is deeply suggestive of eternity: unsettling and yet serenely blissful. To do it justice however it has to be seen it up close at a gallery, no computer screen can fully capture its vivid intensity.

52 thoughts on “Dreams of Desire 48 (Blue)

      1. Sounds delicious , eager to hear your thoughts on that one cake, thank you again for stopping by our Gastradamus blog and sharing your thoughts. Will be checking out more of your material. So far, Cotton is my favorite

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  1. Wow, this is pretty cool! But how did he do the ones with white space and outlined in blue? Is that the same event? I love the orchestra thing, lol.

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    1. Thank you Vic, excellent question and one I wondered about myself. Not sure if he traced around the models or if they were painted later but during the same period. I like them though so I thought I should share. They just don’t have happenings like this anymore.

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    1. I think it is quite obvious why he used attractive models, though in a way fat old men would have been more shocking, just not as aesthetic. Performance art always has a hint of the ridiculous, though as he was the first and the results are pleasing


      1. You are like reverse baked Alaska: Cool on the outside and warm on the inside. Sorry ruined your day again haven’t I? I wasn’t going to comment on the blue because no computer screen can do it justice. I’m going to have to take your word for it then. However… The blue of the horizon. Or the horizon as it meets the sea. On a day where it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. That kind of thing? Because that is disorienting and soothing all at once.

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      2. Hmmm again with the cupcake stuff. No I am ice cold all the way down to my core which is registered in the Kelvin scale. Kleins work is a huge hitter on the art market, something which is truly esoteric in its workings, mainly the monochromatic IKB paintings (the image for A Promise of Paradise is an example). Only De Kooning, Warhol and Bacon fetch better prices. You are spot on with your description, that is exactly what I had in mind. I saw on in Cologne that has an excellent modern art museum with an outstanding collection of Pop Art (nouveau realisme is a concurrent French trend that had a lot of similarities).

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  2. Arrh, I’d like to do Anthropometry someday. Well there is this guy, painting with his penis, em ok. I don’t know whether it counts as Anthropometry, probably rather not. In contrast to that these picture are gorgeous. And of course I just love IKB. But you are absulutely right about the colour not coming out the right way on screen. I struggle with it in my posts, as my pieces never come out on screen as they are in real live. Same Problem exists with indigo, of which nobody actually knows, what exact kind of colour it is. Apart perhaps from Oliver Sacks, who saw it in his inner eyes induced by drugs: “Personal History Altered States – Self-experiments in chemistry.”
    Ok, my thesis.

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    1. Unfortunately it just doesn’t translate that well on a computer screen. The Modern Art museum in Nice has a large collection and it is stunning. Still I wanted to share my thoughts on Klein regardless. I will investigate indigo.


      1. Unfortunately I got sick on mussels the whole time we were in Nizza when I was a child. I even threw up onto the famous promenade out of the car window. I would have positively desecrated the whole place. ‘Burn it down’ they would have yelled, ‘Burn in hell, brat’.

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