There are two terms that all should be aware of in the contemporary art world: IKB and YBA. While they have nothing to do with each other essentially, they should be a part of your vocabulary.
IKB stands for International Klein Blue. Yves Klein, a French artist, created inspiring performances along with creating sponge-works that often use this pigment (and reach incredibly high prices at auction). He too creates works on canvas, often monochrome, applying paint thickly and textured. It is the most significant, brilliant, awe-inspiring blue that Yves Klein himself developed and has became his trademark. While IKB can be seen on canvases and sponges (and some statuettes too), it can be found in his performances as well. Klein in the 60s had nude models dip themselves in paint and brush up against a canvas making their bodies act as a paint brush. They models who took part in this and the viewers who watched this action/process piece witnessed such creativity as a a live symphony was playing aside them. “Klein adopted this hue as a means of evoking the immateriality and boundlessness of his own particular utopian vision of the world,” according to MOMA. But folks, do not try and recreate this blue – for its formula is a secret and only YK knows its components. Sorry dudes, you will just have to go to a museum (Tate Modern has one) and witness this greatness in person if you ever feel the urge to see it in the flesh – which we HIGHLY recommend you do. It will create a lasting impression in your he(ART).
The next term we think is an absolute necessity is YBA. YBA stands for Young British Artists. Artists such as Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Mark Quin, Rachel Whiteread, and the Champan Brothers (and more), were members of this Goldsmiths College organized group. They first exhibited in London in 1988 with their first show FREEZE, curated by Hirst.
YBAs are noted for their shock tactics – think Hirst’s “Shark Tank” (above), or Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” (below “Shark Tank”). Both create a sense of shock, horror, and for some, fear. While Emin’s work is more biographical, for she had a rough upbringing, Hirst is creating works for the sake of g-d knows what? Emin’s bed is surrounded by empty alcohol bottles, tobacco butts, stained sheets, worn undies – as a result of one her nervous breakdowns. Hirst has placed a dead shark in formaldehyde. GROSS, and yet, some people LOVE it. As we’ve mentioned before, we think his works have become too commercialized. But that still does not stop him from being one of the founders of the movement we all should take note of. We as viewers should also be aware of the fact that they too use untraditional forms of media to create their works of art. While some may find their work appalling, other’s find it intriguing.
What is your he(ART) telling you?