Klein invented a colour
19-year old Yves Klein, lazing on a beach in Nice, declared that ‘The blue sky is my first artwork.’ A decade later, with the aid of Parisian paint supplier Edouard Adam, Klein developed a synthetic binding material to retain the brilliancy and texture of pure pigment: International Klein Blue (IKB).
Klein used ‘living paint brushes’
Klein’s ambition went beyond the traditional parameters of art, and in his short career harnessed the expressive potential of more than simply paint and canvas. In his Anthropometries, Klein – dressed in evening wear – directed nude female models to sponge themselves in IKB.
Klein’s first love was judo
Obsessed with the martial art, Klein trained at the prestigious Judo Kodokan institute in Tokyo to attain a fourth dan ranking. He worked as an instructor in Madrid, briefly ran his own judo school in Paris, and published the influential judo manual The Foundations of Judo.
Klein took leaps into the unknown
In 1960, Klein took an astonishing leap from the ledge of a building in a quiet Paris suburb. A classic piece of Klein trickery, the image was a photomontage. Klein was never in any danger and was caught by his judo buddies. The image remains one of the most famous performance photographs.
Klein changed the art world
Reacting against the existential introspection found in abstract art movements, Klein’s innovative outlook led him to erase divisions between life and art. He pushed the possibilities of what art could be in new, exciting and frequently unexpected directions, taking the European art world by storm.