21 abr. 2010

International Klein Blue



The letters IKB stand for International Klein Blue, a distinctive ultramarine which Klein registered as a trademark colour in 1957. He considered that this colour had a quality close to pure space and he associated it with immaterial values beyond what can be seen or touched. The announcement card for his one-man exhibition at the Galleria Apollinaire, Milan in 1957 described IKB as 'a Blue in itself, disengaged from all functional justification' (quoted in Stich, p.81). By this time Klein had arrived at a means of painting in which the incandescence of IKB could be maximised. First he stretched his canvas or cotton scrim over a wooden backing, which had been treated with a milk protein called casein. This assisted the adherence of the paint when it was applied with a roller. Then he applied an industrial blue paint, similar to gouache, which he mixed with a highly volatile fixative. When the paint dried the pigment appeared to hover over the surface of the canvas creating a rich velvety texture and an unusual appearance of depth.

Monochrome bleu, 1960. Centre Pompidou.

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