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Born in Turin, Elena Palumbo-Mosca met Yves Klein when she was an au pair in Nice at Arman and Eliane Radigue because he was a great friend of the couple. She befriended him and was one of his models.
"When someone asks me ...
When I am asked to talk about my experience as a "model" of Yves, it is not easy for me now to summarize in a few words the ideas and emotions that I found at the time absolutely normal, and even, I dare say it, natural. It was our way of life, experimenting, seeking and trying to understand the world, while trying to overcome the difficulties of everyday life.
Rotraut and I were very close: when we lived at Arman's house in Nice - where we both met Yves - we were like sisters: two young single women seeking to discover who they were in this vast world. Later, in Paris, we spent a number of evenings together, talking, joking and sharing our ideas and emotions. Thus, later, it seemed quite natural for Yves to ask me to participate in his work (for both the Blue Anthropometries and those of fire and water).
He knew me well, knew that I liked using my body and my energy, and also that I would strive to understand his purpose. And now what can I add? Perhaps, simply, thanks to Yves' genius and his intrepidity, I lived a happy and intense experience of reality, having even managed to leave the trace of my fugitive presence in the uninterrupted stream of life, a sign cosmic beauty and energy passing through my body. In fact, working in the Rue Campagne Première, it soon became clear that the creation of the "Anthropometries" was a kind of ritual: once we had started, the physical impregnation of my body by the blue of Yves (IKB) silently in a very intense atmosphere: Yves - like an ancient priest - just told me where to apply blue. My body impregnated with blue then became a clear symbol of vital energy.
Now I feel, from my experience of Shinto, that it was an expression of "Ki". Of course, I was quite young then, and more superficial, and most of the philosophical significance so important to Yves certainly escaped me: however, I felt that I was partaking in a sort of initiatory rite. This sensation was even more intense at the "Gaz de France", for the Anthropometries of Fire and Water: the workshop was cold, gigantic and full of drafts, and the winter of Paris biting. The difficult physical conditions, the direct contact with the natural elements - the fire and the water - made me live these moments like a real "rite of passage".
At the moment I did not realize, but I know now, that these experiences would be crucial for my own development."