Maggie Nelson

from Bluets: 78

Once I traveled to the Tate in London to see the blue paintings of Yves Klein, who invented and patented his own shade of ultramarine, International Klein Blue (IKB), then painted canvases and objects with it throughout a period of his life he dubbed “l’epoque bleue.” Standing in front of these blue paintings, or propositions, at the Tate, feeling their blue radiate out so hotly that it seemed to be touching, perhaps even hurting, my eyeballs, I wrote but one phrase in my notebook: too much. I had come all this way, and I could barely look. Perhaps I had inadvertently brushed up against the Buddhist axiom, that enlightenment is the ultimate disappointment. “From the mountain you see the mountain,” wrote Emerson.