Yves Klein and the Blue Globe (1961) (Image: © Yves Klein, ADAGP, Paris / SABAM, Bruxelles, 2017
Photo © Harry Shunk and Janos Kender © J.Paul Getty Trust. The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
The Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in Brussels had a colourful day on Wednesday (16 August) when a visitor trod upon on and damaged a work in the Yves Klein exhibition, Theatre of the Void (closed 20 August). While approaching another work across a gallery space, the visitor inadvertently walked on Pigment bleu sec (Dry Blue Pigment), a shallow wood basin spread with sand and the artist’s signature matte pigment, International Klein Blue (IKB), leaving white footprints on the work and blue material on the floor.
“Even though we have several safety measures (warning signs, a partial barrier and a guard), the man was too fascinated [with the other work] to notice all of that,” a museum spokeswoman tells The Art Newspaper. Bozar employees fully restored the work in-situ the same day, re-arranging the sand and adding more IKB. Dry Blue Pigment, first conceived in 1957, must be re-installed with new sand and pigment each time it is shown, the spokeswoman adds, “so it’s not the same as damage to a ‘unique piece’”.
In April, a journalist walked on a similar Klein work at the Musée d'Art moderne et d'Art contemporain (MAMAC) in Nice during a press opening for the show About Nice: 1947-77 (until 22 October). Following the incident at Bozar, a museum visitor tweeted a picture of the post-damage cleanup, and quipped: “I came for the paintings. But I stayed for performance art.”