PRINT May 2004


Yves Klein’s air architecture

YVES KLEIN’S ARCHITECTURE is ignored in most discussions of his work, which tend to dwell on his deep blue monochromes and his daredevil photomontage Leap into the Void, 1960. But a broader view shows that, before his life was cut short at the age of thirty-four in 1962, Klein was increasingly drawn to larger-scale visions. In 1957 he began to generate schemes for buildings and cities—indeed, entire civilizations—in a long-term project he called “air architecture.” The project took many forms—paintings, drawings, plans, construction details, installations, films, lectures, performances, even patent applications—and many of Klein’s enduring interests coalesced in it, particularly his appreciation of the primacy of nature, such as the sky and the earth, and of its forces, such as gravity and fire. In Klein’s architecture, there are no walls or roofs required: The desultory quality of weather

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