The art of the fall

Yves Klein, Leap into the Void, 1960

Is art really as easy as falling off a log ledge (roof, canalside, whatever)? The evidence is plentiful.

In Leap into the Void, Klein certainly makes it look easy, no matter how much our common sense tells us all is not as it seems. Though I love the mix of an earnest look and a preposterous act in Yves Klein’s photograph, his is not the fall that makes me smile the most.

Bas Jan Ader, Fall I and Fall II, 1970

Bas Jan Ader’s casually deliberate approach to falling, particularly in Fall II where he rides his bike into an Amsterdam canal, never fails to brighten my day.

Art can play all sorts of tricks on our perception – seeing Steve McQueen’s Deadpan for the first time, projected large on a gallery wall, definitely made me anxious; rationally I knew he would come to no harm, nonetheless I winced each time the barn wall crashed down – but it can also make us laugh. The art of the ridiculous shouldn’t be forgotten.

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Steve McQueen, Deadpan, 1997

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