Sunday, August 21, 2016


Yves Klein's IKB74
1958, SF MoMa
7. But what kind of love is it, really? Don’t fool yourself and call it sublimity. Admit that you have stood in front of a little pile of powdered ultramarine pigment in a glass cup at a museum and felt a stinging desire. But to do what? Liberate it? Purchase it? Ingest it?... 
You might want to reach out and disturb the pile of pigment, for example, first staining your fingers with it, then staining the world. You might want to dilute it and swim in it, you might want to rouge your nipples with it, you might want to paint a virgin’s robe with it. But still you wouldn’t be accessing the blue of it. Not exactly.
 78. Once I traveled to the Tate in London to see the blue paintings of Yves Klein, who invented and patented his own shade of ultramarine, International Klein Blue (IKB), then painted canvases and objects with it throughout a period of his life he dubbed “l’epoque bleue.” Standing in front of these blue paintings, or propositions, at the Tate, feeling their blue radiate out so hotly that it seemed to be touching, perhaps even hurting, my eyeballs, I wrote but one phrase in my notebook: too much. I had come all this way, and I could barely look. Perhaps I had inadvertently brushed up against the Buddhist axiom, that enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment. “From the mountain you see the mountain;” wrote Emerson. 
229. I am writing all this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water. 
238. I want you to know, if you ever read this, there was a time when I would rather have had you by my side than any one of these words; I would rather have had you by my side than all the blue in the world. 
239. But now you are talking as if love were a consolation. Simone Weil warned otherwise. “Love is not consolation,” she wrote. “It is light.” 
240. All right then, let me try to rephrase. When I was alive, I aimed to be a student not of longing but of light.
- Maggie Nelson, Bluets

IKB made me realize blue isn't just blue. Most blues are flat, one dimensional and have a clear beginning and end. But I now understand that this blue keeps going and you're not sure where it ends, when it stops or if it ever does. It is infinite. You feel if you get too close, you will fall in and you will drown. So you look at it from a safe distance because you know it is the color of sadness or of hope. There is no in between.