The Sky as a Studio. Yves Klein and his contemporaries

ExhibitionsThe Sky as a Studio. Yves Klein and his contemporaries

From July 18th 2020 to February 1st 2021. Extension until March 15, 2021

Locations : Grande Nef
Category : Exhibitions
Public : All ages

From 18 July 2020, the Centre Pompidou-Metz will present an exhibition devoted to Yves Klein (1928-1962), a major figure on the post-war French and European art scene. «The sky as a Studio » reveals the aesthetic affinities he developed, outside the New Realists’ movement, with a constellation of artists, from the Gutai group in Japan to the spatial artists in Italy, from the ZERO artist group in Germany to the Nul group in the Netherlands. As a «painter of space», Yves Klein projected art into a new odyssey with them. The sky, the air, the void and the cosmos became the immaterial workshop for reinventing art and man’s relationship with the world after the tabula rasa brought about by the war. As early as 1946, Yves Klein associated his name to the other side of the sky, appropriating this infinite space as one of his canvases, while the spatial artists close to Lucio Fontana tried out making «artificial forms appear in the sky, spectacular rainbows». Piero Manzoni became committed to the search for a limitless space in which «matter becomes pure energy», which responds to Klein’s search for immaterial pictorial sensibility and to Otto Piene’s search for art as a sensory and regenerative medium for reconnecting man to the universe.

The new visual arts strategies developed aim to go beyond the materiality of the work of art, seen as an obstacle to freedom, and venture into the experience of monochromy, emptiness and light, in gestures where the work is, like Lucio Fontana’s lacerated or perforated canvases, open to infinity. This cosmogonic aspiration is shared by these artists who, in the tradition of Klein, combine water and fire, earth and air. The light works by Günther Uecker, Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, which evoke galaxies in formation, reveal their fears in the face of the threat of nuclear war. The body becomes the seismograph of this acute awareness that man must escape from the traumatised earth, escape from it or re-fertilize it like Kazuo Shiraga’s reptile dances in the mud, which, as with Klein’s Anthropometries, make the body the very medium of painting.
In the context of the spatial conquest, the poetic dimension of the cosmos is put to the test and Klein affirms: «It will not be with rockets or sputniks that man will achieve the conquest of space because, in this manner, he will always remain a tourist in space; but it is rather by living in it and feeling it». «With Claude Parent, he explores the utopia of an architecture of air that makes energy and air the main building materials in dialogue with other experimental projects such as Constant’s New Babylon, Gyula Kosice’s hydro-spatial city, Manzoni’s pneumatic theatre designed to host Piene’s «ballets of light», which make the work of art the unlimited space where the body can project itself. In the wake of Klein, who considers how «the free man is so free that he can even levitate!» «this generation of artists share a new libertarian idealism, and make the sky the immaterial and spiritual shield against the nuclear arms race and the proliferation of its artificial suns.

Artists present or exhibited:
Bernard Aubertin, Claude Bellegarde, Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani, Constant, Dadamaino, Lucio Fontana, Hans Haacke, Hiroshi Hamaya, Oskar Holweck, Eikoh Hosoe, Fumio Kamei, Akira Kanayama, Kikuji Kawada, Yves Klein, Gyula Kosice, Yayoi Kusama, Liliane Ljin, Heinz Mack, Piero Manzoni, Sadamasa Motonaga, Saburo Murakami, Henk Peeters, Otto Piene, Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio, Roberto Rossellini, Rotraut, Shozo Shimamoto, Fujiko Shiraga, Kazuo Shiraga, Takis, Jean Tinguely, Günther Uecker, Jef Verheyen, Lothar Wolleh, Gil J. Wolman.

Curators : Emma Lavigne, President of the Palais de Tokyo, in collaboration with Daniel Moquay, Director of the Yves Klein Archives
Research and exhibition managers: Colette Angeli et Chloé Chambelland

With the participation of Vranken-Pommery Monopole.

With the collaboration of the archives of Yves Klein.

In media partnership with

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