• Klein de Olivia Grandville



First showing 2 & 3 October 2020

Le lieu unique, Centre for contemporary culture in Nantes

Yves Klein, a visionary artist of the second half of the 20th century, brings us into the era of space and the immaterial. From this perspective, he is a precursor. Le saut dans le vide (The Leap into the Void) is the seminal photograph of all subsequent performances, it is the matrix of conceptual art, at least in post-war France.


Yves Klein is also the author of "Les Fondements du Judo," a manual of meticulous precision that still holds authority today. He is simultaneously a conceptual artist and a grand master of Judo! The rarity of this dual expertise, combined with its coherence with the artist's work, deserves to be emphasized. We know Yves Klein for his famous blue, but less for his mastery of the art of judo, which he saw as his first experience of a spiritual space.


This space is particularly evident in the legendary lecture he recorded at the Sorbonne in 1959 with the architect Werner Ruhnau. Enlightening, funny and sometimes outrageous, the lecture develops the concept of the immateriality of art in opposition to the prevailing materialism. It presents a sensitive space to be inhabited and invested in, rather than merely occupied "as tourists". Yves Klein went so far as to propose a school of sensitivity, presenting its organisation chart, timetable and budget...


For Olivia Grandville, the text of this conference provides an obvious continuation of the work she has done on Lettrism - Le Cabaret discrépant - or on the poet Schwitters - Le K de E; Beaucoup de colle préconise Kurt Schwitters. Being attentive to the historical intersections of art where gesture is articulated with speech, where words become performative, she connects here the programmatic and poetic discourse of the artist to the mastery of martial arts.


Yves Klein is reincarnated through the voice of actor Manuel Vallade, illuminated by the stratospheric music of Benoit de Villeneuve, and punctuated by the graphic evolutions and abrupt sounds of the two Nantes judokas, Emmanuel Gourmelin and Dominique Dijol.


Press coverage

"Au fur et à mesure que la conférence se déroule, on comprend qu’Olivia Grandville se questionne sur l’immatérialité de la danse. Ce qui est sûr, c’est que cette pièce, comme les précédentes, allie humour, élégance et intelligence." Amélie Blaustein Niddam, Toute la Culture

"Klein, d’après la conférence d’Yves Klein à la Sorbonne, conception d’Olivia Grandville", Théâtre du blog


Conception: Olivia Grandville
Text: Conférence à la Sorbonne, Yves Klein ; extracts of Quelques nuances de Klein, Teodoro Gilabert.
Music (live) : Benoît de Villeneuve
Performers: Manuel Vallade, with the participation of d’Olivia Grandville and Benoît de Villeneuve
Judokas: Emmanuel Gourmelin and Dominique Dijol
Lighting (for the stage version): Fabrice Le Fur

Acknowledgements: Ludovic Empis, Emmanuel Monnaux, the Nantes Martial Arts Centre.
Courtesy of the Yves Klein Archives ; the text extracts attributed to Iris Clert are taken from Teodoro Gilabert's book, Quelques nuances de Klein, published by Editions Invenit, in Lille in 2020. ©Teodoro Gilabert and Editions Invenit.

With the support of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès as part of the New Settings programme


Production: Mille Plateaux, CCN La Rochelle

Co-production: Le lieu unique, Nantes centre for contemporary culture.
With support from the "Un été culturel" scheme run by the French Ministry of Culture/ DRAC of Pays de la Loire.