The first UK exhibition in over 20 years examines the pioneering artist's exploration of the relationship between art and everyday life.
One summer’s day in 1947, so the story goes, three young men were sitting on a beach in the South of France. To pass the time, they decided to play a game and divide up the world between them. One (Arman) chose the land and its riches, another (Claude Pascal) the air.
The third opted for the sky and its infiniteness, before reclining and announcing to his friends, ‘The blue sky is my first work of art.’ That man was Yves Klein (1928-1962). ‘That day,’ he said, ‘as I lay stretched upon the beach at Nice, I began to feel hatred for birds which flew back and forth across my blue sky, cloudless sky, because they tried to bore holes in my greatest and most beautiful work.’ With this famous symbolic gesture of signing the sky, Klein had foreseen, as in a daydream, the drive of his art from that time onwards.
Embracing painting, sculpture, performance, theatre, music, film and architecture, Klein pioneered new attitudes that took the European art world by storm before his untimely death at the age of 34 from a heart attack. Operating at a pivotal moment in art history, Klein’s work anticipated later movements including Pop Art and Minimalism, as well as installation and conceptual art.
Now at the first UK exhibition of Klein’s work in more than 20 years, Tate Liverpool presents a solo show that brings together major works never before seen here, complemented by a rich array of rarely seen film, photography and ephemera to reflect the breadth of his artistic vision.