MODERN HISTORY

De­scribed by its maker as be­ing “be­yond di­men­sion”, In­ter­na­tional Klein Blue is the colour that painted the art world… ul­tra­ma­rine

Real Living (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

More than a colour, discover why In­ter­na­tional Klein Blue is the world’s most hard-to-get hue

THE EX­TREMELY RARE “TA­BLE IKB” – RE­LEASED FOL­LOW­ING CRE­ATOR YVES KLEIN’S DEATH IN 1962 – IS FILLED WITH RICH BLUE PIG­MENT

THE WORLD HAS LONG BEEN BEGUILED BY the colour blue, or more specif­i­cally, ul­tra­ma­rine. A bright, bril­liant hue, ul­tra­ma­rine is the sort of blue all oth­ers wish they had been. The pig­ment was once con­sid­ered more pre­cious than gold and le­gend has it Michelan­gelo left an art­work un­fin­ished be­cause he couldn’t af­ford to buy enough. Cen­turies later, a young French artist named Yves Klein patented his own ver­sion of ul­tra­ma­rine and called it In­ter­na­tional Klein Blue (IKB). The thing is, IKB isn’t a colour per se be­cause colour can’t be owned – it’s a paint-mak­ing process. With the help of Edouard Adam, a paint sup­plier, Yves de­vel­oped a resin binder that, when com­bined with raw ul­tra­ma­rine pig­ment, formed a paint that re­tained the colour’s lu­mi­nous in­ten­sity. While other bin­ders dull the pig­ment, this process cre­ated a rich, vel­vety tex­ture with hyp­no­tis­ing depth. From then on, Yves used IKB on ev­ery­thing from sea sponge sculp­tures to blue monochromes on can­vas. Should you gaze at one, you’ll no­tice the ab­sence of paint strokes – Yves pre­ferred rollers, which elim­i­nate hand ges­tures. IKB’s most in­fa­mous mo­ment in its history was the mak­ing of the An­thro­pom­e­try paint­ings. In front of an au­di­ence, naked women cov­ered in ul­tra­ma­rine paint acted as hu­man paint brushes while Yves di­rected them to im­print their bod­ies onto can­vas. IKB has since been both im­i­tated and cel­e­brated in ar­chi­tec­ture and fash­ion. To­day, you can buy a jar of the ul­tra­ma­rine pig­ment – now called Le Medium Adam25 – in Paris, at the very art sup­ply shop founded by Edouard Adam’s grand­fa­ther.

South of France When used in in­te­ri­ors, In­ter­na­tional Klein Blue (IKB) brings a vi­brant edge to any room. Here, a lim­ited-edi­tion Yves Klein “Ta­ble IKB” cof­fee ta­ble is the in­dis­putable star of this liv­ing area.

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