Milan Paris 1957-1962
The research of these two artists engages in a dialogue along the exhibition route, arranged according to a precise biographical, historical and philological reconstruction. The display thus compares their main works via thematic and visual juxtapositions, staged with specially designed exhibition solutions.
The exhibition is dedicated to Yves Klein (1928-1962) and Lucio Fontana (1899-1968).Their creative endeavours, interwoven with a surprising personal bond, are described with over 90 works and extensive documentation including photos, period film clips and archive records. Curated by Silvia Bignami and Giorgio Zanchetti, organised in collaboration with the Lucio Fontana Foundation in Milan and the Yves Klein Archives in Paris, and produced by the Museum of the 20th Century - Museo del Novecento - with Electa, the exhibition draws on important loans from Italian and overseas museums.
At the Museo del Novecento, the exhibition route also extends beyond the manica lunga space, which usually hosts temporary exhibitions, to occupy some of the most representative rooms of the permanent collection: the Video room, the Focus room, the Archives, as well as the areas already dedicated to Fontana – with the Neon Structure of 1951 and the Spatial Concepts – which have received a new exhibit design to accommodate Klein’s works in a close visual comparison.
In January 1957, Yves Klein held his first one-man exhibition of blue monochromes at the Apollinaire Gallery in Milan (Monochrome Propositions. Blue Period) with a presentation by Pierre Restany. On that occasion, Lucio Fontana was among the first to buy a monochrome by the French artist, and in the early 1960s he became one of his most important collectors in Italy.
Fontana’s spatial openings (both physical and conceptual) find correspondence in Klein’s progression from monochrome to the void. Both suggest an immaterial, cosmic or spiritual space, making historical references to the gold of medieval painting and the blue of Giotto, but also directly using natural elements such as light, fire and air, or drawing inspiration from the evocative power of astronomical images.