Yves Klein creating “Fire Paintings,” Center d’essai de Gaz de France, Sain, 1961.

Yves Klein

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why the Yves Klein exhibition curated by Olivier Berggruen and Ingrid Pfeiffer at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt made a stronger impression on me than the two retrospectives of the artist I had seen before. Both those shows—the first in 1969 at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the second in 1983 at the Centre Pompidou—had what I would call a mortuary atmosphere that was nowhere to be found in Frankfurt. This ambiance was in some ways justified in the first instance (an obituary of sorts, held just seven years after the artist’s death) and thus was not so noticeable, but its recurrence in the second show leads me, in hindsight, to the conclusion that the sepulchral effect was due to the emphasis placed on certain works, such as Ci-gît l’espace (Here Lies Space), a 1960 “monogold” horizontally placed on a pedestal and adorned with a bouquet of roses

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