Pictures I Like: Yves Klein, “Leap Into the Void”, 1960

Yves Klein, "Leap Into the Void"

My story: A man asserts that he can fly and requests that his friends document the event. There are some dry runs. Perhaps the man is caught by his friends at the end of his flight. They practice over and over, getting the camera just right. He is caught each time. Finally, the moment arrives. The man leaps from the wall and soars. There is no one below to catch him. A cyclist has his back to the scene as oblivious as Bruegel’s plowman to the magical moment. This photograph is proof that, indeed, a man can fly.

Bruegel, "Fall of Icarus" (via

The facts: Yves Klein, artist, staged “Leap” as one of a series of works that reflected his idea of the “Void”, a state of consciousness in which reality may be experienced without pre-conceived notions of materiality or the world. He published it in a broadside attacking NASA for using technology to go to the moon when it was possible for a man to do so simply by flying. Klein had his photographer friends make several shots of the street, then before he leapt, a tarpaulin was stretched over the sidewalk. The photo of his leap was combined with a photo of the street without the tarpaulin safety net. The Void, apparently, is bounded by hard surfaces. I am disappointed that M. Klein was not artist enough to fly as I thought he might have, but I still think of my story rather than his when I look at this picture since my story is more uplifting.


2 comments on “Pictures I Like: Yves Klein, “Leap Into the Void”, 1960

  1. Brenda Petsy says:

    Mr.Culpepper, I am wondering if you know if prints are available to purchase of Harry Skunk’s photo of Yves Klein’s “Leap into the Void” ?

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