Paul Wember, Yves Klein: Werkverzeichnis, Ausstellungsverzeichnis, Cologne, 1969, p. 76, illustrated
Painted circa 1962.
PROPERTY FROM THE HELGA AND WALTHER LAUFFS COLLECTION
In a letter to American architect and art collector Philip Johnson dated October 12, 1959, Klein described his ritualistic instructions for selling 'Zones of Pictorial Immaterial Sensibility' which subverted capitalist trading strategies. With help from the dealer Iris Clert, Klein noted that he: "had made 'receipts,' which look like bank checks. The Zones are sold for a certain amount of gold. Seven numbered series exists, each of which contains ten more zones, also numbered. For every zone sold, a unique receipt is issued, which notes the amount of pure gold that represents the material value of the immaterial thing acquired by the buyer.'' (Ingrid Pfeiffer and Carla Orthen, 'Biography,' Yves Klein, ed. Olivier Berggruen, Milan, 2004, p. 221) Klein's receipts confirm the existence of an invisible conceptual work of art, the intent to prove that a formal sale of the work has taken place. As Klein established in his 'ritual rules', each buyer may choose between two alternatives. In the first, the buyer pays the agreed upon amount of gold in exchange for a receipt. Klein keeps all of the gold while the buyer does not really acquire the 'authentic immaterial value' of the work. The second alternative is to buy an immaterial zone for gold and then to burn the receipt. (Ibid, p. 221) Only through the burning of the receipt can a genuine 'immaterialization'--a type of pictorial transubstantiation--be successfully achieved. In the end, the process of incorporating the buyer into the field of the immaterial succeeds in further aligning Klein with the avant-garde.