Magister Ludi (7): Immaterial Captions

By: Patrick Cates
June 1, 2010

Yves Klein: judo expert, amphetamine guzzler, Knight of the Order of St. Sebastian, premature expirer and artist. He patented a colour; he turned the urine of gallery-goers blue; he wrote a monotone symphony; he directed a one-day play in which everybody in the world was an actor; he burned canvases. Yves Klein is the colossal personality who has been chosen to launch a new flavour of Magister Ludi challenge: the caption contest.

In the picture above, Klein is casting 20 grams of gold into the River Seine in Paris. The gentleman with him, Dino Buzzati, is holding a burning receipt. Just prior to this, Klein had sold Buzzati one of his Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, an arbitrarily sized quantity of air. Buzzati had paid the required fee (the gold) and Klein had given him the receipt in return. But only by throwing the gold in the river and burning the receipt could complete immateriality be achieved.


The rubric:

  1. As Lusor Ludi, your job is to formulate a caption that adds meaning, nonsense, seriousness, humour, dialogue, commentary, or some combination of all, to the image.
  2. The Lusor Ludi who concocts the funniest and/or cleverest and/or most absurd caption, as judged by me, will be crowned Victor Ludi.
  3. The Victor Ludi will win a copy of The Idler’s Glossary (signed and personally dedicated by co-author and editor, Joshua Glenn).
  4. Lusores Ludi should add their captions as comments to this thread by 9PM EST on Sunday 13 June.
  5. There is no limit to the number of captions that each Lusor Ludi can submit.



What do you think?

  1. Yves: Yes, here they come, mon ami, the little goldflies of the Seine. They can’t resist the smell of a burning receipt! Soon I’ll have trapped enough to pay for my fine at the library.
    Dino: Bravissimo!

  2. “Had I known there would be a photographer, I would have worn my BIG bowtie.”

  3. Scattering the ashes of Marcel Duchamp.

    Before commodification became weightless, it affected those subject to it in very physical ways. After Duchamp’s ritual suicide in 1960, cremation revealed that he had literally become, to some extent, gold. A small portion of his remains were cast to the waters by his heirs, as shown here, while the rest were swiped by a cabal of gallery owners and used to bargain with the devil.

  4. Just think, Buzzati, sixty years from now bros and hos at the finest frats’ll be puking Goldschlager into gutters all over America! God, it’s good to be a tastemaker.

  5. BUZZATI: But Yves, doesn’t having a photographer present to make a record of events throw into question the immaterial nature of what we’re doing?

    KLEIN: Shuddup bignose.

  6. YVES: We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow. (Pause.) Unless Godot comes.

    DINO: And if he comes?

    YVES: We’ll be saved.

  7. KLEIN: Gold for air, paper for gold, fire for paper, air for fire. We create the void, and the void creates us in one perfect moment.

    BUZZATI: I’m not wearing pants.

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