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Surfaces and Blocks of Pictorial Sensibility. Pictorial Intentions, 1957

  • Surfaces and Blocks of Pictorial Sensibility. Pictorial Intentions
"I thought, then, that the next step, following the Blue Period, would be the public presentation of this pictorial sensibility, this poetic energy, this impalpable, free matter in a non-concentrated, non-contracted state.
It would be a truly informal painting, such as it is and should be. Thus I presented, in my last double exhibition in Paris, at Iris CLERT and Colette ALLENDY in 1957, in one room on the first floor Iris CLERT’s Gallery a series of surfaces of pictorial sensibility, invisible, of course, to the naked eye and yet very much present.

Truth be told, what I am after, my future, the solution for my problem, is to no longer do anything at all as quickly as possible, but do everything consciously, with circumspection and caution. I am seeking to be, plain and simple. I will be a painter. One will say of me: this is the painter. And I will feel like a painter, a true painter precisely because I do not paint, or at least not outwardly. The fact that I exist as a painter will be the most formidable pictorial work of this time; (...)

Paintings are living, autonomous presences; this is the crucial point of the entire discussion. It proves that artistic creation is more delicate, much more delicate than one thinks, even while being very real. (…)

This is why I so often repeat, despite the contempt and the mocking smiles of my colleagues, that every painter one has an obligation to bring out the best of oneself solely and uniquely in the refinement of space that defines painting! (...)

At this degree of sensibility (not to be confused with sentimentality) one may experience that by removing a canvas, a truth, from where it was hanging long enough to refine the atmosphere around it, one will very quickly perceive its absence, for its presence had been very strong because of the psychological effect of the material support that it represents, allowing one to lean oneself safely into the full void of pictorial sensibility. (...)

The role of the painter in the society of the future will be to live externally, to live in a collectivity in which he will refine, through his presence, the best, the purest, and the most delicate states of sensibility and its atmosphere so that these, quite simply, may be healthful, gay, and good!
And one will be able to say that painting, like poetry, is the art of creating souls to keep company with souls.

A painter collaborating with an architect in a new construction, for example, will no longer paint figurative, abstract, or monochrome murals decorations but, quite simply, bestow upon the construction of the structure, through his presence in this collaboration, a certain sensibility, a sensible life, a warmth that would take the structure itself a much longer time to create with its inhabitants – and certainly not under the same gentle, kind, fantastic, formidable, extraordinary, and marvelous conditions as the painter of the future will be able to do it, ever so often, through his effective presence during the construction.
The structure will be decorated with material pictorial sensibility. The modern architect will therefore finally be able, in his own way, to concern himself with strictly utilitarian issues and leave the creation of a vertiginous climate of poetic pictorial expression in the new atmosphere of the construction as a whole to the artist-painter.

Yves Klein, excerpt from « The Monochrome Adventure: the monochrome epic », 1960, Overcoming the problematics of Art -The writings of Yves Klein, Spring Publications, 2007
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