|Le Saut dans le Vide (Leap into the Void); Photomontage by Harry Shunk, October 1960.|
"The shape of the body, its lines, its strange colors hovering between life and death, hold no interest for me. Only the essential, pure affective climate of the flesh is valid… Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void." Yves Klein from the Chelsea Hotel Manifesto, 1961Hmm. One can't help but be intrigued by a line such as that last one!
So digging a little deeper I find this description of art bridging modernism and Buddhism.
"A work of art stops being about an individual’s accumulation of masterpieces; it is now about the participation or the disappearance of the public. The artist puts down his gun and starts smiling. This means that the artist abandons his false noble image, competition and innovation, and the standard of value. The public will neither panic nor feel strongly about it when faced with “new” ideas and works; they regard Picasso’s paintings both as meaningless scrawls on a piece of white canvas and as artistic masterpieces. This is exactly the same way that Chan Buddhism sees a wooden statue of Sakyamuni: both as Buddha and as a piece of firewood. As “Buddha,” so as to connect with the living world; as “wood,” so as to go beyond it. At this point, “Buddha” and “art” exist only as an unchangeable meaning in the living world." Huang Yong Ping from “Xiamen Dada—Postmodern?” (1986)
Klein's ideas of immateriality and art's ability to represent the void in his Chelsea manifesto fascinate me. What a rich text to explore. Chance, the ephemeral, natural phenomena, the circle/cycle of life, and being present through "sensibility" (which i choose to take as mindfulness) all make an appearance. It is not a perfect document and that is precisely what makes it so rich.
"All facts that are contradictory are authentic principles of an explanation of the universe. Truly, fire is one of these principles, essentially contradictory, one from the other, since it is both the sweetness and torture that lies at the heart and origin of our civilization. But what stirs this search for feeling in me through the making of super-graves and super coffins? What stirs this search in me for the imprint of fire? Why search for the Trace itself?"
|Untitled Fire Painting 1961|