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Project of blue lighting of the Obelisk, Place de la Concorde, Paris, 1958

  • Project of blue lighting of the Obelisk, Place de la Concorde, Paris
    Carte postale, collage et encre
    4 x 6 inch
"To make it extremely clear that I have abandoned the material and physical aspects of the color blue, waste and coagulated blood issued from the first matter and sensibility of space, I wish to obtain from the Prefecture of the Seine and from Electricité de France (EDF) the authorization to illuminate in the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde in blue light. By placing blue filters over the light projectors already installed, the entire obelisk can be illuminated while leaving its base dark. This will restore to the monument all the mystical brilliance of ancient antiquity and contribute, at the same time, a solution to the perennial problem that the “base” has always posed as sculpture.
In effect, thus illuminated, the obelisk will soar into space, immutable and static, in a monumental movement of the affective imagination, over the entire expanse of the Place de la Concorde, above the prehistoric gas-lit streetlamps into the night, like an enormous unpunctuated exclamation mark!

In this way, the tangible and visible blue will be outside, outdoors, in the street, and in indoors will be the dematerialization of blue.

Everything is ready; at around 7:00 p.m., I am in the gallery. Suddenly, the telephone rings (during the exhibition the telephone will be placed in the corridor outside). It is the police department. A laconic voice announces to me that a decision has been made to suppress the illumination of the Obelisk on the grounds that it is too personal in character."
Yves Klein, 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
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