Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void)
I owned a postcard of this image when I was younger, and I always thought it was an amazing demonstration of the mad judo skills of the French artist and trickster Yves Klein.
I pinned it over my desk for energetic inspiration.
As it says in Klein’s Wikipedia entry:
In Japan, at the early age of 25, he became a master at judo receiving the rank of yodan (4th dan/degree black-belt) from the Kodokan, which at that time was a remarkable achievement for a westerner. He also stayed in Japan in 1953. Klein later wrote a book on Judo called Les fondements du judo.
I wondered how he managed to land without hurting himself, but figured that since he was a little mad himself, it was possible. The photo was made in 1960, and he died very young, in 1962, at the age of 34. Maybe he died from trying a similar stunt.
But I was fooled, and I didn’t realize it until years later.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, in its way:
In October 1960, the American photographer Harry Shunk made a series of pictures re-creating a jump from a second-floor window that the artist claimed to have executed earlier in the year; the figure and the surrounding scene were then collaged together and rephotographed to create its "documentary" appearance. To complete the illusion that the event had actually taken place, Klein distributed a fake broadsheet at Parisian newsstands commemorating it.
Mr. Klein had actually created the photo by jumping into a tarp that was later removed from the image.
"Yves Klein, Harry Shunk, Janos Kender: Leap into the Void (1992.5112)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000- (October 2006) >>
– Yves Klein, Wikipedia>>