La spécialisation de la sensibilité à l’état matière première en sensibilité picturale stabilisée, "Le Vide" [The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, "The Void"]
Galerie Iris Clert, Paris, France
28 April 1958 - 12 May 1958
Entrance of Iris Clert gallery, during the opening of the "Void" exhibition, Paris, 1958
"In order to attain this indefinable of Delacroix that is the essence of painting, I became a specialist of space, which is my ultimate way of treating color. It is no longer a question of seeing color, but rather of perceiving it. Lately, working with color has led me, in spite of myself, to pursuit, little by little, the creation of matter with a support structure (that of the observer, of the translator) and I have decided to bring an end to the conflict; at present, my paintings are invisible and it is these that I wish to display at my next Paris exhibition at the Iris Clert Gallery in a clear and positive manner." Yves Klein, excerpt from « My position in the battle between line and color», 1958, Overcoming the problematics of Art -The writings of Yves Klein, Spring Publications, 2007, p. 19 "From the street it will be impossible to see anything other than the color blue, for I shall paint the windows in the blue of last year’s blue period. In front of the building entrance, through which the public will have access to the gallery by way of the corridor, I will place a monumental dais draped in fabric of the same dark ultramarine shade of blue. On the evening of the opening, beneath this dais on each side of the entrance, Republican Guards in formal presidential dress uniforms will be stationed. (This will be required to bestow upon the exhibition the official character I aspire and also because the true principle of the Republic, were it applied, pleases me, even though I find it incomplete nowadays). We shall receive the public in the corridor, which measures approximately 32 square meters, where a blue cocktail will be served (prepared by the bar of La Coupole in MONTPARNASSE: gin, Cointreau, methylene blue). (...) Preparation of the gallery: in order to refine the ambiance of this gallery – its pictorial sensibility in the first material state – to an individual, autonomous, and stabilized pictorial climate, I must, on one hand, bleach the gallery to wash away the impregnations with the numerous preceding expositions. In painting the walls white I wish not only to purify the space but, above all, to transform it, through this action and gesture temporarily into my work space, my studio. (...) The glass of the display case and the door opening onto the street, undesirable, will also be painted white. Everything will be painted white to receive the pictorial climate of the sensibility of dematerialized blue. (...) In this way, the tangible and visible blue will be outside, outdoors, in the street, and in indoors will be the dematerialization of blue." Excerpt from "Preparation and Presentation of the Exhibition on April 28, 1958 at the Iris Clert Gallery, 3 rue des Beaux-Arts, Paris", Overcoming the problematics of Art -The writings of Yves Klein, Spring Publications, 2007, p. 47
This event was a landmark. It also savored many misunderstandings, maintained in particular by the title under which it passed to posterity, the exhibition of "The Void".