Yves Klein - Photo of the artist - Image via departurescom

Yves Klein/ Yves Klein

France 1928 - 1962

Sculpture, Performance Art, Painting

Yves Klein
Yves Klein
Male
France
1928

Easily passing as one of the most innovative artists emerging from the neo avant-garde period, Yves Klein was a French mastermind who wrote out some very interesting and exciting pages of modern art history. Although he did not want to have anything to do with art in his student years, instead seeking out advancements in other fields such as Eastern spirituality and judo, Klein eventually did introduce unique concepts to the scene once he chose to dedicate himself to artistic creation in the late 1940s. What fueled this sudden turn to art and his entire creation process was Yves’ one of a kind relationship with the sky. Most notable of these concepts is the famous International Klein Blue (also known as IKB) – this chemically developed color found its way into every mature piece Yves ever created, effectively becoming one of the most recognizable trademarks in modern art. Putting the ultramarine color aside, this artist also introduced ideas such as sponge sculptures, living paintbrushes, fire paintings and other conceptual works, as well as some of the most original performance acts ever assembled. Yves Klein was also one of the founders of Nouveau Réalisme, an artistic movement founded by himself and the art critic Pierre Restany in 1960.

Yves Klein - People Begin to Fly, 1961 - Image via wikiartorg
Yves Klein – People Begin to Fly, 1961 – Image via wikiart.org

Young Yves Klein and His Blue Sky

Yves Klein was born in Nice, France, during the year of 1928. Despite both of his parents being painters, young Klein had no particular interest in exploring any kinds of art in his earliest years. Despite his efforts to ignore such callings, Yves parents had a massive influence on their son’s future career – Klein’s father, Fred, worked in a figurative style, while his mother, Marie, favored more abstract expression. Yves grew up between Paris and Cagnes-sur-Mer, a place in the southern France which was his home whilst the Nazis occupied the northern lands of his country. Between the years of 1942 and 1964, Klein studied at the École Nationale de la Marine Marchand and the École Nationale des Langues. He was still not attracted to traditional art forms, choosing instead to dedicate himself to the exploration classic literature, jazz music, eastern philosophy and judo – a Japanise fighting style with its roots in the ancient samurai combat.

As student Klein was enjoying post-war life and his various hobbies, the legend now forever embedded in art history says that he had an epiphany which will permanently alter his view on the world and subsequently shape his future work. Lying on the beach with friends in 1946, Yves declared that he claimed the sky. Although this may sound a bit crazy in all honesty, Klein’s friends were not as shocked as they’ve been aware of Yves’ fascination with the endless blue above us – the young artist described the sky as the perfect representation of the formless and infinite[1]. Talking about it many years later, Klein stated that he actually started to feel nothing but hatred for birds due to their natural ability to fly. He said that the birds would fly back and forth across the blue cloudless sky with goals of boring holes in his greatest and most beautiful work. These heavily abstract concepts with surrealistic touches would fuel Klein’s art for the remainder of his career as he dedicated his life to depicting mystical experiences between his and the sky through his work.

All of Klein’s pieces were somehow connected to his unique relationship with the endless sky above us

Yves Klein - Big Blue Anthropometry in gallery , 1960 - Image via theredlistcom
Yves Klein – Big Blue Anthropometry, 1960 – Image via theredlist.com

A New Color – International Klein Blue

Invigorated by his revelation of the sky and its mysticism, Klein began to seek ways of communicating his vision with the rest of the world. One of his very first creations was the Monotone-Silence Symphony (1947–48) – a musical piece intended to elicit the sky through a constant playing of a single chord for full 20 minutes, followed up by an equally long period of silence that was reserved for reflection upon what the listener just realized. Although this piece was not to be performed publicly for a decade later, it did set the tone and the primary theme that would serve as a compass to all Klein’s future works. Monotone-Silence Symphony was so ahead of its time that it’s always fascinating to realize the piece was actually created before the year of 1950 – literally nothing similar was ever made and the closest thing to Klein’s symphony were Futuristic’s takes on artistic music and sounds during the early 20th century.

Following the years after the completion of the Monotone-Silence Symphony, Yves traveled extensively. He would further shape his artistic vision and overall skill along the way, absorbing all the locations he would visit and finding inspiration in local art. Klein lived in London for three years between 1949 and 1952, spending most of his time working in a frame shop – this experience, combined with the under the radar influence his parents had on him, eventually helped Yves to gain a solid understanding of painting and the foundations of color. Growing a bit bored with the United Kingdom, Klein decided to follow his instinct and pursue a better skill in judo, his lifelong fascination. In order to do so, he set his sails to Japan in the year of 1952 and became a fourth dan black belt at the legendary Kodokan Institute. Whilst in the Land of the Rising Son, Yves held a solo exhibition of his work and wrote a manual of his art, titling it the Manifesto of the Monochrome. In it, Klein described his work as a liberation of emotion from the restraints of line and object[2].

After traveling around the world, Yves finally made a full circle and returned to Paris in the year of 1955. There he opened a judo school and continued to develop his neo avant-garde concepts. In February 1956, he held another solo show called Yves: Propositions Monochromes – in this exhibition, the artist displayed twenty paintings, each composed of a different single color. Unfortunately, the French public yet again proved that it was not ready to witness Klein’s concepts, so Yves: Propositions Monochromes was destined to become a huge failure. Disappointed by the unenthusiastic response he received, Yves decided to force the next step of his career. Hiring a professional chemist to help him, Klein devised a special color to be used in all his future works – a deep ultramarine tone. He called it International Klein Blue (IKB).

International Klein Blue (or IKB) was an ultramarine color that served as Yves’ main expressive tool in all his mature works

Yves Klein - IKB Godet in gallery, 1958 - Image via walkerartcenterorg
Yves Klein – IKB Godet, 1958 – Image via walkerartcenter.org

Blue Ballons, Fire Paintings and Live Sculptures

After he established it as a trademark symbol, the ultramarine color became the main tool of Yves’ art through which he channeled his spirituality and the personal relationship with the sky above him. The birth of the deep blue color subsequently launched his Blue Period in the year of 1957, marked by his famous Aerostatic Sculpture. This performance act was organized in Paris and it was based on releasing 1,001 blue balloons. This time around, the French public loved Yves’ work. Aerostatic Sculpture put Klein on the map and he soon traveled around Europe, presenting his monochromic paintings in London and Milan. In the same year, the artist also branched out a bit and found a new method to express his blue ideas. Yves completed a commissioned task that required him to paint a mural for the entrance hall of a new opera house in Gelsenkirchen, West Germany. He also started his series of sculptures that featured the paint-soaked sponges he used to create his monochromes.

After the 1957’s events, Klein became a household name of the French contemporary scene. It was about that time that he started to work on the legendary The Void[3], a project that had Yves empty an entire space of the Galeries Iris Clert and paint it completely white. Simultaneously, Klein began to experiment with more approaches to expressing his vision – he would hire nude female models and cover the entirety of their bodies with International Klein Blue, later introducing them to blank surfaces as if he was using living paintbrushes. Inspired by the Sun, Yves also began burning his canvases and effectively establishing a new series of his career – the so-called fire paintings. He worked on his Monogolds[4] as well. Soon, Yves became a part of a group of other artists who all wanted to find new ways of representing reality around us. This group founded by Klein and Pierre Restany in 1960 was called Nouveau Réalisme and it revolved around methods of seeing the world as an image from which they could take parts and incorporate them into their works. By the year of 1961, Klein became an under the radar star of the contemporary art scene, with his various pieces traveling around the world and attracting mass attention both around Europe and The United States.

Yves Klein is widely considered as the most important performance art representative of all time

Klein asked the gallery to use none of their privacy terms as he wanted everyone to have a contact with his monochrome pigment
Yves Klein – La Réunion – Image via about.me

Yves Klein’s Table Bleue

Although Klein is probably better known for his signature paintings and the rest of the International Klein Blue works,this artist actually dedicated a lot of his effort into becoming a part of the furniture design world. The result of such efforts were his Table Bleue pieces, tabletops that are still produced to this day – although the price tags often exceed the sum of $22,500, so it can not be easily described as affordable to wider masses. To this day, Klein’s design of the Table Bleue did not change a bit since he first presented them. Yves’ tables are essentially a plexiglass box supported by metal legs and filled with the pigment of the International Klein Blue. Today, Klein’s Table Bleue pieces are produced by a company called Artware. Besides the standard sky version of the table, there were also tabletops that came in pink and gold colorations.

Klein asked the gallery to use none of their privacy terms as he wanted everyone to have a contact with his monochrome pigment
Yves Klein – Table Bleue – Image via olmuart.cz

The End of the Tale

After one of his American exhibitions started to be under an all out critical attack, Yves was prompted to write the famous Chelsea Hotel Manifesto. In it, the artist described how he sees his life’s work and explains many aspects of his art, as well as the transcendent experience on the beach in 1947. This manifesto now has a cult status and it is widely considered to be the most precise explanation of Klein’s art and one of the most amazing writings about art ever made. Soon after the USA show’s failure, Yves married German artist Rotraut Uecker. Unfortunately, the happy marriage was heavily overshadowed by Klein’s signs of heart trouble. Logically, this eventually impacted his artistic output as well as he was forced to spend much of his time in hospitals. He also stopped visiting his own exhibitions – something he loved doing throughout his career. On June 6, 1962, Klein suffered a critical heart attack and subsequently died at a local infirmary. He was only 34 years of age. Luckily, the sad and untimely ending of Yves’ life was a bit lightened by the birth to his son, Yves Amu Klein, who was born mere two months after his father passed away.

Yves’ work did not manage to impact the scene whilst he still drew breath, but it became vital to conceptual and performance art after Klein’s death

Forever Believe in the Blue

Unfortunately, Yves was ultimately very misunderstood and maligned during his day, with his true appreciation coming only after the fatal year of 1962. This can somewhat be connected to the fact that his premature death ended his career before he had a chance to furtherly establish his art, but it’s undeniable that the public was simply not ready nor willing to understand most of his pieces. In his time, Klein was a quick excitement and one of the artists no one wanted to adhere with too much respect. However, as the years after his death were passing by, Yves’ impact started to show in all aspects of both the performance and conceptual art movements. Now his name is treated with deserved respect and it became a challenge to name just a few contemporary artists who impacted the world as much as Yves Klein managed to do.

References:

  1. Anonymous. Yves Klein Biography, Bio [September 2, 2016]
  2. Weitemeier, H., Yves Klein, 1928–1962: Internacional Klein Blue, Taschen, 2001
  3. Berggruen, O., Yves Klein – The Void, Pushkin Press, 2012
  4. Anonymous. True Blue, The New Yorker, p.72, 2010

Featured image: Yves Klein – Photo of the artist – Image via departures.com
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2016El Nuevo Realismo Centre Pompidou Malaga, MálagaGroup
2016My Body Is a CageMAC's Grand Hornu - Musée des Arts Contemporains, HornuGroup
2016Turning PagesOlomouc Museum of art - Zapadoceska galerie, PilsenGroup
2016Painting 2.0Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), VienneGroup
2016Beckmann, Picasso, Giacometti & moreKunstmuseum Liechtenstein, VaduzGroup
2015Yves KleinGalería Cayón, MadridSolo
2015Spazi dell’Anima: Yves Klein e la devozione a Santa Rita da CasciaMuseo Carlo Bilotti, RomeSolo
2014GorgeousAsian Art Museum, San Francisco, CAGroup
2014A InusitadaMuseu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP, São PauloGroup
2014Art and AlchemyThe Mystery of Transformation - Museum Kunstpalast, DusseldorfGroup
2014ZeroPinacoteca do Estado, São PauloGroup
2014Experience 09: SilenceESMoA, El Segundo, CAGroup
2014ZeroGalerie & Edition Bode GmbH, NurembergGroup
2014Leap into the VoidAxel Vervoordt Gallery, AntwerpGroup
2014CounterIntelligenceJustina M Barnicke Gallery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ONGroup
2014Experiments with Truth: Gandhi and Images of NonviolenceThe Menil Collection, Houston, TXGroup
2013La Grande Magia. Opere scelte dalla Collezione UniCreditMAMbo - Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, BolognaGroup
201330th Council of Europe art exhibition - The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe Since 1945Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK), KrakowGroup
2013The Show Is OverGagosian Gallery, LondonGroup
2013B.A.B.E - The Best Artists Books and EditorsImmanence, espace d'art contemporain, ParisGroup
2013Inaugral show Audible presence: Lucio Fontana, Yves klein, Cy TwomblyDominique Lévy Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Blau - dialog zwischenGalerie Son, BerlinGroup
2013Adventures of truth - Painting and philosophyFondation Maeght, Saint-PaulGroup
2013Critique and Crises. Art in Europe Since 1945Kumu Art Museum, TallinnGroup
2013In DeedContemporary Art Centre (CAC), VilniusGroup
2013Die Sammlung Hubert LooserKunsthaus Zürich, ZurichGroup
2013When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969 / Venezia 2013Fondazione Prada, VeniceGroup
2013BlinkLynch Tham, New York City, NYGroup
2013Viva Valencia. Arte Y Gastronomía. La Cocina De La PinturaIVAM - Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, ValenciaGroup
2013Yves Klein / Claude ParentEspace de l’art concret, Mouans SartouxGroup
2013Rêves de VeniseInstitut culturel Bernard Magrez, BordeauxGroup
2013The Desire for FreedomArte in Europa dal 1945 - Palazzo Reale, MilanGroup
2013Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, ILGroup
2013In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in ArtWeatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCGroup
2012Judo e TeatroCorpo e Visioni - Palazzo Ducale, GenoaSolo
2012A Bigger Splash: Painting after PerformanceTate Modern, LondonGroup
2012¡Explosión! El legado de Jackson PollockFundación Joan Miró, BarcelonaGroup
2012Albertina ContemporaryAlbertina, ViennaGroup
2012Die Sammlung Gunter Sachs. Von Max Ernst bis Andy WarholMuseum Villa Stuck, MunichGroup
2012XXX. Europaratsausstellung - Verführung Freiheit. Kunst In Europa Seit 1945Deutsches Historisches Museum - DHM, BerlinGroup
2012Avant-Gardes - The collection of the Triton FoundationKunsthal Rotterdam, RotterdamGroup
2012Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949–1962MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2012La Collection Michael WernerMusée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, ParisGroup
2012Sense Of ColorsKeitelman Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2012Verlangsamte PerformanceVAN HORN, DusseldorfGroup
2012Sounds like Silence (Cage – 4'33'' – Stille / 1912 – 1952 – 2012)HMKV - Hartware MedienKunstVerein, DortmundGroup
2012Luxe : Mode D'emploiPassage de Retz, ParisGroup
2012Klein - Byars - KapoorMAMAC - Musee d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, NiceGroup
2012InvisibleHayward Gallery, LondonGroup
2012Explosion! - Painting in ActionModerna Museet, StockholmGroup
2012New art in antwerp 1958-1962 - # 3 creating totally new mediaMuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, AntwerpGroup
2012A House Full Of MusicStrategien In Musik Und Kunst - Mathildenhöhe, DarmstadtGroup
2012Aufbruch. Malerei und realer RaumAdK - Akademie der Künste, BerlinGroup
2012Micro ManiaGagosian Gallery, ParisGroup
2012Arcadia in Celle: Art for Nature and Nature for ArtFondation Maeght, Saint-PaulGroup
2012ArtandpressMartin-Gropius-Bau, BerlinGroup
2012GoldBelvedere, ViennaGroup
2012Spirits Of InternationalismMuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, AntwerpGroup
2012100 Years (version #4 Boston, 2012)Boston University Art Gallery - BUAG, Boston, MAGroup
2012In The World Of ZeroSEM-ART Gallery, MonacoGroup
2011LaliqueGalerie Gmurzynska - Zürich, ZurichSolo
2011Dance Your LifeCentre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, ParisGroup
2011Art Talks & Sensations. The Island / a Game of LifeGallery One - Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu DhabiGroup
2011In DeedCerificates of Authenticity in ArtFondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, VeniceGroup
2011AufbruchMalerei und realer Raum - Situation Kunst, BochumGroup
2011In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in ArtDe Vleeshal, MiddelburgGroup
2011La couleur en avantMAMAC - Musee d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, NiceGroup
2011GRAVITY´S RAINBOWIngleby Gallery, Edinburgh, ScotlandGroup
2011With One ColorVan de Weghe Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2011Selten & SchönStella A., BerlinGroup
2011Things are Queer - Highlights der Sammlung UniCreditMARTa Herford, HerfordGroup
2011Offset SummaryRachel Uffner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2010With the Void, Full PowersWalker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNSolo
2010With the Void, Full PowersHirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DCSolo
2010The Artist as Collector: Olivier MossetMuseum of Contemporary Art Tucson - MOCA, Tucson, AZGroup
2010Inquiring Eyes: Greensboro Collects ArtWeatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NCGroup
2010Highlights of ProartaGalerie Proarta, ZurichGroup
2010Art FrancaisSEM-ART Gallery, MonacoGroup
2010Shit or Gold? - HEARTHerning Museum of Contemporary Art, HerningGroup
2010More of an activity:the artist as choreographerHiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, HiroshimaGroup
2010Painting, Process and ExpansionMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaGroup
2010BEHIND THE SHADOWSGalerie Wild - Zürich, ZurichGroup
2010Talking of YvesEngland & Co, LondonGroup
2010PrimarioGalería Cayón, MadridGroup
2010HumanMAMAC - Musee d´Art Moderne et d`Art Contemporain Nice, NiceGroup
2010ART LOFT Fine Art zu Gast bei Galerie Wild ZürichGalerie Wild - Zürich, ZurichGroup
2010In-between Minimalisms - Play Van Abbe, Part 2: Time MachinesStedelijk Van Abbemuseum, EindhovenGroup
2010Funktionen der ZeichnungMuseum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/MainGroup
2010COLOUR in ARTLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebækGroup
2009The Foundations of Judo by Yves KleinCokkie Snoei Rotterdam, RotterdamSolo
2009MOCA´s First Thirty YearsMOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009HerenciasCírculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid (CBA), MadridGroup
2009Farbwelten. Von Monet bis Yves KleinPaula Modersohn-Becker Museum, BremenGroup
2009Karsten Greve, 20 years in ParisGalerie Karsten Greve - Paris, ParisGroup
2009VOIDS- eine Retrospektive über leere AusstellungenKunsthalle Bern, BernGroup
2009The Lens and the Mirror: Self-Portraits from the Collection, 1957–2007The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NYGroup
2009The Death of the AudienceWiener Secession, ViennaGroup
2009VIENNESE ACTIONISM. FROM PAINTING TO ACTION WorksMUMOK collection - Sofia Art Gallery, SofiaGroup
2009Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to TodayTate Liverpool, LiverpoolGroup
2009Yves Klein & RotrautGalerie Gmurzynska - Zürich, ZurichGroup
2009Face OffGalerie Sabine Knust, MunichGroup
2009Materia GrisGalería Cayón, MadridGroup
2009All that is solid melts into airMuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, AntwerpGroup
2009WHITE LIGHT / WHITE HEATHauser & Wirth, London (closed, 2011)Group
2009Vides, Une rétrospective - Centre PompidouMusée National d´Art Moderne, ParisGroup
2009Winter Saison 2008/2009Galerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzGroup
2008Angli - HeartHEART - Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, HerningGroup
2008Licht & GoldGalerie Proarta, ZurichGroup
2008Now's the timeCharlemont House, DublinGroup
2008Lauffs CollectionZwirner & Wirth, New York City, NY (closed, 2009)Group
2008Rebuilding with ArtFondazione Pierluigi e Natalina Remotti, Camogli, GEGroup
2008MasterworksThe Goodman Gallery, JohannesburgGroup
200816th Biennale of SydneyBiennale of Sydney, Sydney, NSWGroup
2008World Art MastersGalerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzGroup
2008Traces du Sacré - Centre PompidouMusée National d´Art Moderne, ParisGroup
2008Selections from the collection of Helga and Walther LauffsZwirner & Wirth, New York City, NY (closed, 2009)Group
2008Sammler Stiften. 250 Jahre Staatliche Graphische Sammlung MünchenPinakothek der Moderne, MunichGroup
2008Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to TodayMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
2008Paul McCarthy´s Low Life Slow Life: Part 1CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2008Person Of The Crowd: The Contemporary Art Of FlânerieNeuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NYGroup
2008Art Metropole: The Top 100MSVU Art Gallery, Halifax, NSGroup
2007Yves Klein & Martin Bruno SchmidGalerie tazl., WeizSolo
2007Die blaue RevolutionMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaSolo
2007Tamaño RealGalería Cayón, MadridGroup
2007The Complexity Of The SimpleMnuchin Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2007Modern Contemporary MastersGalerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzGroup
2007Die aufregende Kunst des 20. JahrhundertsNeue Nationalgalerie, BerlinGroup
2007Declaring SpaceThe Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TXGroup
2007Human Conditions: selections from the permanent collectionScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art - SMoCA, Scottsdale, AZGroup
2007Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? - Positionen der FarbfeldmalereiStaatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-BadenGroup
200725 Jahre - 25 WerkeSkulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, MarlGroup
2007ARTEMPO - Where Times Becomes ArtMuseo Fortuny, VeniceGroup
2007Artist’s ChoiceInstitut Néerlandais, ParisGroup
2007Vertigo - The century of off-media art from Futurism to the webMAMbo - Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Bologna, BolognaGroup
2007The Last Seduction: A Welcome Surrender To BeautyCarrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2007Köpfe - KörperGalerie Rieder, MunichGroup
2007Fondation Beyeler: EROS in der Kunst der ModerneBank Austria Kunstforum, ViennaGroup
2007Art is an Idea - The Moquay CollectionScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art - SMoCA, Scottsdale, AZGroup
2006Body, Colour, ImmaterialCentre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, ParisSolo
2006Air ArchitectureMuseum für angewandte Kunst (MAK), ViennaSolo
2006Der Sprung ins LeereStiftung Ahlers Pro Arte / Kestner Pro Arte, HannoverSolo
2006Renegades 25 Years of Performance at Exit ArtExit Art, New York City, NY (closed, 2012)Group
2006Busy going crazy. the Sylvio Perlstein collectionLa Maison Rouge, ParisGroup
2006Eye on Europe - Prints, Books & Multiples, 1960 to NowMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
2006ZéroMusée d'Art moderne de Saint-Etienne, Saint-EtienneGroup
2006The Materialization Of Sensibility: Art And AlchemyLeslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York City, NYGroup
2006Bienal del AireMACCSI Museo Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, CaracasGroup
200660th Anniversary ShowGimpel Fils, LondonGroup
2006New Horizons - Selections from the Permanent CollectionTelfair Museum of Art, Savannah, GAGroup
2006The Expanded Eye. SehenEntgrenzt und verflüssigt - Kunsthaus Zürich, ZurichGroup
2006WrongKlosterfelde, Berlin (closed)Group
2006Zero - sammlung lenz schönberg 1956-2006Museum der Moderne Salzburg Mönchsberg, SalzburgGroup
2006Line and Surface - Works on PaperPeter Blum Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2005Fire paintingsMichael Werner Gallery - New York, New York City, NYSolo
2005A Career SurveMnuchin Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2005Yves Klein: A Career SurveyL&M Arts, New York, New York City, NYSolo
2005Air ArchitectureStorefront for Art and Architecture, New York City, NYSolo
2005SpectrumGalerie Lelong - New York, New York City, NYGroup
2005The Gravity in ArtDe Appel Boys' School, AmsterdamGroup
2005Rural and Urban LandscapesGalerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzGroup
2005A Brief History of Invisible ArtCCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, CAGroup
2005Nouveau RéalismeMuseum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK , ViennaGroup
2005Contradicting ArchitectureGalerie Marian Goodman, ParisGroup
2005Colour After KleinBarbican Art Gallery, LondonGroup
2005(my private) HeroesMARTa Herford, HerfordGroup
2005The Enigma of ModernityLudwig Museum - Museum of Contemporary Art - Budapest, BudapestGroup
2005Marie Raymond-Yves KleinMusée Joseph Déchelette, RoanneGroup
2005The Last Picture Show - Artists using Photography 1960-1982Miami Art Central, Miami, FLGroup
2005Interessi ZeroGalleria Civica di Trento, TrentoGroup
2004A retrospectiveSchirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/MainSolo
2004Yves Klein - Air ArchitectureMAK Center for Art and Architecture, West Hollywood, CASolo
2004The Furniture of Poul Kjærholm and Selected ArtSean Kelly Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2004The Last Picture ShowFotomuseum Winterthur, WinterthurGroup
2004Woman - Metamorphosis of modernityFundación Joan Miró, BarcelonaGroup
2004GRAVITYSingapore Art Museum, SingaporeGroup
2004The last picture show. Artistas que hacen uso de la fotografía. Tendencias conceptuales de 1960-1982MARCO Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, VigoGroup
2004The Big NothingICA - Institute of Contemporary Art - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PAGroup
2004Modern Means: Continuity and Change in Art from 1880 to the PresentMori Art Museum, TokyoGroup
2004The Last Picture Show - Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2004European-Art-Expo 2004 Fashion Düsseldorf European Art Expo, Dusseldorf (closed)Group
2003Winter Fairytales: Modern Masters and Russian AvantgardeGalerie Gmurzynska - St. Moritz, St. MoritzGroup
2003Art, Lies and Videotape: Exposing PerformanceTate Liverpool, LiverpoolGroup
2003Contemporary Art and the Mathematical InstinctTweed Museum of Art, Duluth, MNGroup
2003L´INVENTION DU MONDECentre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, ParisGroup
2003Happiness - A Survival Guide for Art and LifeMori Art Museum, TokyoGroup
2003The Last Picture Show - Artists Using Photography - 1960-1982Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MNGroup
2003In Pursuit of the AbsoluteThe Menil Collection, Houston, TXGroup
2003THE GIFT: Generous Offerings, Threatening HospitalityArt Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, ONGroup
2003The Gift - Generous Offerings, Threatening HospitalityMary & Leigh Block Museum of Art, Evanston, ILGroup
2003AirJames Cohan Gallery - New York, New York City, NYGroup
2002El lenguaje del cuerpoGalería Elvira González, MadridGroup
2002Natural - UnnaturalGalerie Gmurzynska - Köln, Cologne (closed, 2006)Group
2002París: Capital de las Artes 1900-1968Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, BilbaoGroup
2002BodiesModerna Museet, StockholmGroup
2002THE GIFT: Generous Offerings, Threatening HospitalityScottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art - SMoCA, Scottsdale, AZGroup
2002V.I.P. 1 - Very Important PiecesMuseum Morsbroich, LeverkusenGroup
2002THE GIFT - Generous Offerings, Threatening HospitalityBronx Museum of the Arts (BxMA), New York City, NYGroup
2002Nur FarbeGalerie Thomas, MunichGroup
2001Points of Departure II: Connecting with Contemporary ArtSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art - SFMOMA, San Francisco, CAGroup
2001Ingenting / Nothing Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö (closed, 2006)Group
2001Naked since 1950L&M Arts, New York, New York City, NYGroup
2001Which ART do you like best ?Kamakura Gallery, KanagawaGroup
2001NothingContemporary Art Centre (CAC), VilniusGroup
2001Die Sammlung Lauffs IIMuseen Haus Lange / Haus Esters, KrefeldGroup
2001Monochrome/Monochrome?Florence Lynch Gallery, New York City, NY (closed)Group
2001Burn: Artists Play With FireColumbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SCGroup
2001VisionToyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota AichiGroup
2001Re-Location - on movingSean Kelly Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2001The Global Guggenheim - Selections from the Extended CollectionSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2001Evidence of Love, Romance, Desire & FantasyJack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2001Burn - Artists Play with FireNorton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FLGroup
2000La vita la vita stessa che è l´arte assolutaCentro per l´Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, POSolo
2000Process / Reprocess - Japan and the WestLeslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York City, NYGroup
2000Century of Innocence – The History of the White MonochromeRooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö (closed, 2006)Group
2000MAN – Body in Art from 1950-2000ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, IshojGroup
2000Die Farbe BlauGalerie Rieder, MunichGroup
2000Now - The 30th Annual Mfa Graduate ExhibitionBerkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive BAM/PFA, Berkeley, CAGroup
2000FarbeLicht - Fondation Beyeler, RiehenGroup
2000Cosmos - From Goya to De Chirico from Friedrich to KieferPalazzo Grassi - Francois Pinault Foundation, VeniceGroup
1999Tinguely’s Favorites: Yves KleinMuseum Tinguely, BaselSolo
19997 Women, 7 Years laterAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1999Petits FormatsYoshii Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1999Blue DreamsGalerie Henze & Ketterer & Triebold, RiehenGroup
1999Out of actionsMuseum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), TokyoGroup
1998Out of actions - Aktionismus, Body Art & Performances 1949-1979Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK), ViennaGroup
1998Disappearing ActLeslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York City, NYGroup
1998Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, CAGroup
1998BLUE/sGalerie M + R Fricke, Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf (closed, 2006)Group
1997The AnthropometriesGalerie Gmurzynska - Köln, Cologne (closed, 2006)Solo
1997The AnthropometriesDanese, New York City, NYSolo
1997Comme s'il n'était pas mortGallery Itsutsuji, TokyoSolo
19972nd Gwangju Biennale - Unmapping The EarthGwangju Biennale, GwangjuGroup
1997Angel, Angel - Legends of the PresentGalerie Rudolfinum, PragueGroup
1997Around EuropeStedelijk Museum CS, AmsterdamGroup
1997ENGEL:ENGELKunsthalle wien project space karlsplatz, ViennaGroup
1997Action/Performance & the PhotographMSVU Art Gallery, Halifax, NSGroup
1996Dokumente, Briefe, Fotos,…Weserburg | Museum für moderne Kunst, BremenSolo
1996Endurance: The InformationArcadia University Art Gallery , Glenside, PAGroup
1995Main Stations - Nouveaux Départs Dans L'art Depuis 1950Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain, LuxembourgGroup
199546th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale / Biennale di VeneziaLa Biennale di Venezia, VeniceGroup
1995Defining SpaceThe Menil Collection, Houston, TXGroup
1995EnduranceExit Art, New York City, NY (closed, 2012)Group
1994Yves Klein – Der Sprung ins LeereK20 Grabbeplatz, DusseldorfSolo
1994Yves Klein - Le Depassement de la Problematique de l'ArtGalerie Gmurzynska - Köln, Cologne (closed, 2006)Solo
1994MappingMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
1993Fire at the Heart of the VoidGagosian Gallery , New York City, NYSolo
1993Works on PaperAnthony d'Offay Gallery, London (closed, 2001)Group
1993Refusing to SurfaceSLG South London Gallery, LondonGroup
1992The Fire PaintingsMOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CASolo
1992Six ArtistsThe Menil Collection, Houston, TXGroup
1991Vision of SpaceGalerie Gmurzynska - Köln, Cologne (closed, 2006)Group
19917 WomenAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1990Triptychon 1960Kunsthalle Basel, BaselSolo
1990Broken MusicMusée d´art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal, QCGroup
1990Blau - Farbe der FerneHeidelberger Kunstverein, HeidelbergGroup
1989Sponge ReliefsGagosian Gallery , New York City, NYSolo
198920° Bienal de São PauloBienal de Sao Paulo, São PauloGroup
1988Robert Gober, Yves Klein, Dan Flavin303 Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
1987Transformation and ProphecyAnthony d'Offay Gallery, London (closed, 2001)Group
1986Icarus: The Vision of AngelsRonald Feldman Fine Arts Inc, New York City, NYGroup
1985Les immateriauxCentre Pompidou - Musée National d´Art Moderne, ParisGroup
1982Yves Klein - a retrospectiveSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, NYSolo
1978The Book of the Arts of Artists' BooksTehran Museum of Contemporary Art, TehranGroup
1976Yves Klein - RetrospektiveKunsthalle Düsseldorf, DusseldorfSolo
1974Basically WhiteICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
1971Ways of LookingMoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NYGroup
1970The Sidney and Harriet Janis CollectionICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
1969When Attitudes Become FormICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
1968The Obsessive Image 1960-1968ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts London, LondonGroup
1964Peintures de feuGalerie Schmela, Dusseldorf (closed, 2008)Solo
1962The New RealistsSidney Janis Gallery, New York City, NY (closed, 1998)Group
1958Le Vide (The Void)Iris Clert Gallery, Paris (closed, 1971)Solo
1957Propositions MonochromesGalerie Schmela, Dusseldorf (closed, 2008)Solo