26 Jan: The Man Who Sold The Wind

French artist Yves Klein concluded his artwork “Zone de Sensibilité Picturale Immatérielle” on 26th January 1962 – by throwing half the gold he received for the artwork into the Seine, and burning the ownership receipt. This conceptual performance, forgotten for decades, is now often credited by art critics for presaging the world of NFTs and blockchains.

Known for his daring, influential art, Klein’s more famous works include orchestrating a monotone silence symphony and copyrighting a colour: International Klein Blue. Despite satirising capitalism, however, he always made sure he was well paid… 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Klein’s methods aimed for spontaneous, chaotic, and absurd expressions of art; explain how the audience were always a crucial component in his performances; and question whether Farrow and Ball have the edge over his trademark colour… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Money for nothing: receipt for ‘invisible art’ sells for $1.2m’ (The Guardian, 2022): https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/apr/14/receipt-for-invisible-art-auction-yves-klein

• ‘Yves Klein: The man who invented a colour’ (BBC Culture, 2014): https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140828-the-man-who-invented-a-colour

• What Inspired Yves Klein? (Christie’s, 2018):