Audio transcript


Narrator: Whatever you think of Yves Klein's painting 'IKB 79' you can not deny it has an eye-catching richness of colour; a brilliant blue that seems to glow from within the surface. The velvety pigment wraps around the curved corners and edges of the work like a softening build-up of powder, although in fact it's a solid coat of paint, applied with a roller to give the work its depth and texture. Klein started to work with single tones in an attempt reach a pure and ultimate state of painting. He talked of contours and perspective being 'the bars on the window of a prison' while far away, 'amidst colour, dwelt life and liberty'. With nothing to fixate upon but this radiant blue, our focus is drawn through the surface of the work, to a space beyond. This expansion to a third dimension interested Klein, and perhaps reflects the vast limitless spaces of sky and sea of his Mediterranean childhood. In 1957 he registered this tone of blue as International Klein Blue and it became the hallmark for all his subsequent work.