the Chelsea Hotel

Le vrai devient réalité

memorial for Yves Klein



de l'Hôtel Chelsea

Le vrai devient réalité

mémorial pour Yves Klein




Memorial for Yves Klein
Saint-Paul-de-Vence (Alpes-Maritimes), 1964-1965, project

Following Yves Klein’s premature death in 1962, Claude Parent envisioned/created a memorial project upon the request of Marie Raymond, the mother of the deceased and his widow Rotraut Uecker. Envisioned/ Planned on a piece of land of 500 square meters, located at the top of a hill in Saint-Paul-de Vence, the commemorative monument was to be dedicated to the memory of “Yves the monochrome".

The work is an architectural interpretation of Klein’s favourite themes, taking the shape of an initiatory journey, intuitive and sensorial; it rises on three interconnected levels within a square surrounding, a consecrated place where time seems suspended. At the center of a geometric structure, consisting of sets of pure volumes and open spaces, the visitor is invited through the various cylinders, to experiment space, its perception and the echo of energies.

The cylinders, pointed in various directions, are oriented towards the concepts of immaterial, space, monochrome, atmosphere, introspection, all of which are researched themes valued by the late artist. Each cylinder creates an atmosphere, inscribing itself between the shadow of the blind volume and the light towards which it aims. Only the cylinder that is buried makes reference to gravity.

A vertical cylinder, heightened and balanced between two walls, is elevated between earth and air thus symbolizing the creative solar strength. It differentiates itself from a second cylinder placed horizontally, accessible by a set of banisters and staircases. It demonstrates the polarity between fire and water, a lunar energy where only imagination prevails. It points towards an infinite space of colour: the blue of the Mediterranean sky, which shade reminds us naturally of Klein Blue. Within this prolongation, a third cylinder, tips up obliquely towards the sky, its position symbolizing a dynamic synthesis between vertical and horizontal.

Finally, a fourth tubular element, buried, pulls us into a cryptic space where a monogold is presented. It evokes the alchemical and biblical doctrines of speech elaborated by Klein himself. Each of the first three cylinders float spatially, almost weightless. They are withheld by a fragile balance of weight, secured only by limited contact to their base, yet sufficient enough to prevent them from toppling over.

The concrete walls are created through thickness and mass volume. The geometry of the volums rendered, as well as the disappearing lines directed towards space, recall the observatory station of Jaipur, India.

By reviving "the possibilities of creative imagination", the Memorial for Yves Klein reconciles fundamental elements with architecture, considered the primary element. Thus, the visitor becomes the stabilizing force of balance.

Christelle Lecoeur