The Colour of Now (Artfully Unsure) : 2 minute read

Goya (1746-1828) had his bleak period during which he produced his Black Paintings, after turning totally deaf. In a series of dark (very dark) canvases, grotesque caricatures were born out of depression and a fear of creeping insanity … or were they the artist’s astute observations of a society gone mad? Never intended for sale or public consumption, in the present day all 14 of them are proudly on display at the Prado in Madrid … Where ‘we’ will be going to see them soon, a family that’s travelling again.

In 2013, Éponge Bleue Sans Titre, SE 168 (1959) made of natural sea sponges was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $22 million, the highest price paid for a Klein sculpture.

More recently, Yves Klein (1928-1962) had his Blue Epoch. It produced this sculpture I captured on my phone at Paris’s Georges Pompidou Centre. It was the October before Covid, it was over a half-term break, that’s when I remember that we were last there. We’d seen it before but this time the tree looked a bit boring, as if it too, felt a bit bored. Sat still at home now, I’m looking at it in the Album files—Should I make an Instagram post of it? I’m tempted … To help free it from its confines. Blue or otherwise, constructed of the sponge used in its making, it was a recycled thing. Born again with a new life to live, shouldn’t it be outside: if not living the dream, at least living it up, if only a little? … Or was it in fact in the right place and correct for this life-form to remain where it was, boxed up there on the upper levels where it resides?

Fun Fact: The hue, a unique blend reminiscent of medieval lapis lazuli, till this day is known as International Klein Blue (IKB)

Yet, why blue, Yves? Why not green like the lifeblood chlorophyll which jungles, forests and small blades of grass are equally made of? (Oh, too true, there are jealousies —and in so many shades of the colour.) But true-blue, crystal clear (giving this some energy here!), and cleansing, even if tinged with a little sadness sometimes —Blue is for water, non?

Fun Fact: The hue, a unique blend reminiscent of medieval lapis lazuli, till this day is known as International Klein Blue (IKB). If you knew that already —Great! If you didn’t, well now you do—So, a Great! to you, too, dear friends of art, of trees, of Yves.

But what I don’t know and what I’m still waiting to determine is this— Whether black or blue (or in any other colours like the canvas mosaics of Klein’s monochromes era), is it just nuts or does it make perfect sense (ala Goya) —or on the contrary—will it be in bad taste (something Klein was also fascinated with)—for us to be out and about already in June/July 2021?

We shall just have to see.

Ready or not, ‘we’ are doing this!

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