The black monk and the blue mystic : the writings and monochromatic paintings of Ad Reinhardt and Yves Klein
Leiby, Bora Kim
This dissertation is an examination of the monochromatic paintings and associated writings of Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) and Yves Klein (1928-1962). Since its inception in 1918, the modern monochromatic painting has continued to fascinate, puzzle, and even upset viewers. Despite this, artists continue to explore this form. It would be unrealistic to assume that there is one artistic ideology that motivates all monochromatic painters. Trying to uncover all varying ideologies would be too difficult and require research based on the subjective writings of critics and historians. In an attempt to understand the monochrome from the artist's perspective I have analysed texts written by the artists regarding their own artwork. Not only did Reinhardt and Klein paint monochromatic images at the same time in history, but both documented their creative processes in writing. I have examined two edited collections of texts by these artists: Art-as-Art: The Selected Writings of Ad Reinhardt (1975) and the English translation of Overcoming the Problematics of Art: The Writings of Yves Klein (2007). The body of this dissertation uncovers similarities and differences in regards to formal aspects, functional roles, and sources of inspiration associated with these paintings. These include artistic rules regarding colour and line, the intended function of art in life, and a shared affinity for Eastern philosophy and aesthetics. While far from uncovering any universal monochromatic ideology, this examination provides some background on and appreciation for the creative process of monochromatic painting and a basic understanding of the reaction to the form.
Advisor: Leech, Peter; Wolf, Erika
Degree Name: Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
Degree Discipline: Art History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Dissertation