iKB

2015, mixed media installation, variable dimensions

The blue sky is my first artwork.

Yves Klein

1947

In iKB (iKhaledBarakeh), the artist has created a subjective map which tracks the locations in which he has lived, from Syria, to Denmark, and finally to Germany. The roofs of each of five habitations were painted in an opaque ultramarine blue which closely mimics Yves Klein’s patented International Klein Blue (IKB). Only fully visible through the use of a bird’s eye view in Google Maps, the map is at once highly personal and radically public. It is an appropriation and inversion of an art historical hubris which saw fit to claim ownership over an entire color, and even the blue sky itself.

In the exhibition, this act of personalized cartography is entirely mediated through screens and digitally derived information. Light boxes display the latitude and longitude of these five locations which shaped the artist’s life and career, creating a personalized set of coordinates extracted from Google Maps. Multiple televisions showcase details of the painted roof tiles which have been printed with photographs taken of the entire buildings. Through an electric piano rigged to play one continuous note, the artist was even able to recreate the meditative monotony of cleaning, preparing and painting an entire roof. It is a self portrait oscillating between virtual situatedness and technological abstraction.