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Yves Klein - Painter of Space

« Yves Klein - Painter of Space », the first retrospective in China of the French artist Yves Klein organized with the Yves Kein Archives (Paris), will open to the public on July 6th at the Guardian Art Center, as part of the 17th edition of the Croisements festival organized by the French Embassy.


"Yves Klein - Painter of Space" is the first retrospective in China on the French pioneering artist of action art and the immaterial practices of contemporary art. The exhibition presents a collection of more than 60 works and a large selection of documents - drawings, photographs and films - taking into account all the techniques that the artist developed during his short but intense career between 1954 and 1962.


It examines three of the main issues present in Yves Klein’s work: monochromatism, the material nature of the flesh, and the immaterial character of art, for Yves Klein's work rests on a dynamic balance between two poles: the visible and the invisible, matter and emptiness, flesh and the immaterial.


"Yves Klein - Painter of Space" is divided into nine sections and presents the entire trajectory of the artist: the first monochrome paintings in color, the famous blue Monochromes, the reliefs and Spongessculptures, the Anthropometries, the Monogolds and his last experiments with natural elements such as fire, air and water. Constructed in just seven years before his sudden death, Klein's bold work, which anticipates many later trends and remains fully relevant today.



About Yves Klein 

Yves Klein, born in 1928 in Nice, had as a first vocation to be a judoka. It was only back in Paris, in 1954, that he dedicated himself fully to art, setting out on his ‘adventure into monochrome’.

Animated by a quest to ‘liberate color from the prison that is the line’, Yves Klein directed his attention to the monochrome which, to him, was the only form of painting that allowed to ‘make visible the absolute’.

By choosing to express feeling rather than figurative form, Yves Klein moved beyond ideas of artistic representation, conceiving the work of art instead as a trace of communication between the artist and the world; invisible truth made visible. His works, he said, were to be ‘the ashes of his art’, traces of that which the eye could not see.

Yves Klein’s practice revealed of new way of conceptualizing the role of the artist, conceiving his whole life as an artwork. ‘Art is everywhere that the artist goes’, he once declared. According to him, beauty existed everywhere, but in a state of invisibility. His task was to capture beauty wherever it might be found, in matter as in air.

The artist used blue as the vehicle for his quest to capture immateriality and the infinite. His celebrated bluer-than-blue hue, soon to be named ‘IKB’ (International Klein Blue), radiates colorful waves, engaging not only the eyes of the viewer, but in fact allowing us see with our souls, to read with our imaginations.

From monochromes, to the void, to his ‘technique of living brushes’ or ‘Anthropometry’; by way of his deployment of nature’s elements in order to manifest their creative life-force; and his use of gold as a portal to the absolute; Yves Klein developed a ground-breaking practice that broke down boundaries between conceptual art, sculpture, painting, and performance.

Just before dying, Yves Klein told a friend, "I am going to go into the biggest studio in the world, and I will only do immaterial works." 

Between May 1954 and June 6, 1962, the date of his death, Yves Klein burned his life to make a flamboyant work that marked his era and still shines today.


About Guardian Art Center

Located close to the Forbidden City, on Wangfujing, Beijing's most famous shopping avenue, the Guardian Art Center opened its doors in 2017. Created by auction house China Guardian and designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, the Guardian Art Center gives pride of place to Chinese art, both classical and contemporary, with numerous collaborations with the Palace Museum, and to international artists and architects (Raphaël, Alphonse Mucha, Yves Klein, Kengo Kuma, Zaha Hadid).


About Archives Yves Klein 

Passed away prematurely in 1962 at the age of 34, Yves Klein left behind him a major work and archives rich of documents, writings, photographs, films, audio recordings, books and notebooks. 

These archives are documented and maintained by Rotraut Klein Moquay, Yves Klein’s widow, who pursues his work to this day.   

The missions of the Archives are to contribute to a better knowledge of Yves Klein's work, work towards the realization of a new catalog raisonné, be accessible for scientific and artistic research and organize and participate in various cultural projects around the world.



About Yongwoo Lee

Yongwoo Lee is a professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University (Shanghai). He is the founder and former artistic director of the Gwangju Biennial and the Shanghai Project. He was also Director of the Shanghai Himalayas Museum and President of the International Biennial Association. He has taught as a professor at Shanghai University and Korea University, and as a Distinguished Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts.


About Croisements festival 

20 years after the beginning of the Années croisées France-Chine (2003-2005), from which it stems, the Croisements festival has built a strong identity through innovative artistic choices, revealing the diversity of French creation and stimulating Franco-Chinese cooperation in various disciplines (visual arts, performing arts, music, cinema, books...). Thanks to the recognition it has gained among the public and cultural partners over the past 17 years, the festival brings the intercultural dialogue to life in China and on the international stage, as part of ambitious collaborations.


Yves Klein - Painter of Space

Organizer : Guardian Art Center  

Co-organizer : Archives Yves Klein

Exhibition presented as part of the 17th edition of the festival Croisements organized by the French Embassy in China

Curator : Archives Yves Klein

Curatorial advisor : Yongwoo Lee

Fashion&Art advisor: Mang Su

Art Ambassador :Siyan Huo、Jiang Du

Exhibition partner : Doors 门艺

Time : 2023.7.6-10.3

Venue:B1 Floor, Guardian Art Center, Wangfujing Dajie n°1, Dongcheng district, Beijing

Technical Partner:UPTC Co., Ltd. ,BOE.

Partner:The Puxuan Hotel&Spa

Chief Artistic Collaborative Media: ARTnews China

Exclusive Content Collaboration Platform: Xiaohongshu

Special Collaborative Media:Wallpaper


Ticket and early-bird information: 

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