In the historic Blenheim Palace, the work of one of the most radical figures in postwar Western art is being exhibited: Yves Klein and his dazzling blue are on show throughout the heritage listed palace in Oxfordshire until the 8th of October, 2018.
Billed as the most comprehensive exhibition of Klein’s work in the United Kingdom to date, the show has fifty artworks on display amongst the palace’s more traditional artworks. Included in the exhibition are seminal works from Klein’s short but illustrious career. In the historic Great Hall, a floor of blue powdered pigment greets visitors in a recreation of the work ‘Pure Blue Pigment’ from 1958. The famed monochrome painting from 1961, painted in IKB the year after Klein patented his color as ‘International Klein Blue’. Klein likened his monochrome painting to ‘an opening window to freedom’, and he worked extensively with a chemist to develop his own brand of blue that he felt had a spiritual or transcendent quality. Against the historic furnishings of the UNESCO world heritage listed palace—particularly the crimson tapestries, mahogany wood, and gold-gilded frames—Klein’s work makes for dramatic comparison, but is no less impressive because of its company.