50+ Artworks feature in new Yves Klein exhibition at Blenheim Palace

Installation view, Blenheim Palace,Yves Klein, Relief Portrait of Arman, Relief Portrait of Claude Pascal, courtesy of Blenheim
Installation view, Blenheim Palace,Yves Klein, Relief Portrait of Arman, Relief Portrait of Claude Pascal, courtesy of Blenheim

Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace is a solo exhibition by the visionary French artist, presented in collaboration with the Yves Klein Estate which coincides with what would have been the artist’s ninetieth birthday year. It explores concepts of beauty, sensibility and the sublime, offering visitors a unique opportunity to view Klein’s seminal artworks in the landmark setting of the World Heritage listed eighteenth-century palace. The exhibition also marks the fifth anniversary of Blenheim Art Foundation, which was founded by Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill in 2014 to challenge, excite and inspire visitors to Blenheim Palace by providing access to world-class modern and contemporary art within its historic setting.

Daniel Moquay, Yves Klein Archives, said:

‘We are very happy to collaborate with Blenheim Art Foundation on the occasion of Yves Klein’s ninetieth birthday year and to present his artworks in a totally different environment from the usual exhibitions that we organise. This exhibition presents Yves Klein’s artworks from a new angle and brings contemporary and neo-classical art into unprecedented dialogue, as a fluid tradition.’

Installation view, Yves Klein, Jonathan Swift (c.1960), courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation, photo by Tom Lindboe
Installation view, Yves Klein, Jonathan Swift (c.1960), courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation, photo by Tom Lindboe

Featuring over 50 plus artworks, this is the most comprehensive exhibition of Yves Klein in the UK to date. Visitors can explore Klein’s wide-ranging practice, including painting, sculpture and large-scale installation. One of the most influential artists of his generation, his pioneering artistic experiments anticipated and inspired movements in conceptual art, minimalism and performance art. Klein is best known for the development of his own vivid ultramarine pigment, International Klein Blue (IKB), which became a symbolic part of his practice, a key to reaching the ‘infinite’ and ‘sublime’ through pure colour.

Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace features a large-scale blue pigment installation and a number of Klein’s Monochrome Paintings, the dazzling colours transforming the visitor’s aesthetic experience of the opulent baroque surroundings of the Great Hall and principal rooms. A painting from his ground-breaking Anthropometry series is also on display, for which Klein employed models as ‘living brushes’ to create marks on the canvas, as well as a Fire Painting.

Klein blended traditional artistic mediums and imagery with dynamic techniques and performance, erasing the boundaries between process and artwork. Sponge Sculptures, made from the sponges Klein painted with, saturated with pigment, will be on show alongside twelve free-standing Blue Venus sculptures coated in IKB, which will be installed in the Saloon and were inspired by Classical Greek sculpture. Pigment Tables in IKB, gold and pink will be shown in the 3rd State Room, whilst Relief Portraits of the artist Arman and poet Claude Pascal, Klein’s childhood friends, will be installed in the Long Library. To accompany the exhibition this year visitors can see information about the artist’s life and work in The Gallery in the Stables Courtyard.

Michael Frahm, Director, Blenheim Art Foundation, said:

‘We are delighted to mark our fifth year by paying homage to Yves Klein, one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Yves Klein’s ideas have been hugely influential on generations of artists and his radical thinking influenced minimal, conceptual and performance art by pushing the boundaries of what art could be. This exhibition celebrates the universal sensibility of Yves Klein’s language and I hope it will touch visitors of all ages with its timeless, enduring and spiritual effect.’

YVES KLEIN AT BLENHEIM PALACE 18 July – 7 October 2018

Installation view, Blenheim Palace, Yves Klein, Pure Pigment installation, courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation, photo by Tom Lin
Installation view, Blenheim Palace, Yves Klein, Pure Pigment installation, courtesy of Blenheim Art Foundation, photo by Tom Lin

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018