International Klein Blue
International Klein Blue (IKB) is an eye-wateringly strong color teetering between blue and purple.
Enraged by the placid reception of his first exhibit of monochromes, Yves Klein doubled down on provocation by painting exclusively in one color: blue. In 1955 he teamed up with Parisian paint dealer Edouard Adam to patent International Klein Blue, synthesizing the color using a new technique that preserved the pigment’s blue luminosity. The effect was startingly modern, a cobalt phoenix of a color.
It’s hard not to dismiss Yves Klein as a 'goldbricker' – in a 1959-62 work 'Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility', he sold empty lots (that he didn’t own) in exchange for bars of gold, which he then ceremoniously tossed into the Seine. At a later exhibit, Klein served cocktails of gin, Cointreau, and methylene blue, which – to his delight – stained everyone’s urine blue.
Trickster or not, his antics served a point: Art flings us into the void, and it ought (literally) to penetrate us thoroughly.
-Jude Stewart, Roy G. Biv: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color
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