Retrato imaginario 2. La Inesperada.

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Nobody in the neighborhood knows the age of La Inesperada. She is old, very old. In the rare sunny days of November you can see her standing in that corner where calle Núñez de Arce meets calle de la Cruz.  She uses to stand still for hours displaying all her elegance. The windows of the old shoe store in her back create a cold and shiny backdrop that enhances her long figure. She only wears whole blue outfits. People think she is a prostitute, one of the old local workers that use to walk up and down the street. But they are wrong. La Inesperada arrived in Madrid right after the war and very soon she started working at night at Villarosa. In the spring of 1951 when Yves met her for the first time, she was already a kind of underground star avant-la-léttre. He wasn’t much interested on flamenco or cabaret but his friend Fernando Franco de Sarabia insisted in taking him to Villarosa that was one of the most extravagant clubs in that after-war Madrid. Yves was a French young man that had moved to Madrid months before because he was obsessed with judo and it was cheaper coming here than travelling to Japan. Fernando was a worldwide known master in judo Kodokan and Yves became immediately his most advanced student. He never went out because he wanted to save all his energies for judo. But Fernando didn’t share that approach: judo had to be found everywhere not just in the training classes at the studio at calle Recoletos. So he took him to see La Inesperada in performance. She was an extraordinary artist but she never staged a conventional show. She thought it was unfair to require the attention of the audience for long time. What people at Villarosa needed was a shocking experience, a kind of brutal epiphany that blow their minds up straightaway. And that’s what she did and that’s what Fernando admired. Her actions were always unexpected and lasted between thirty seconds and seven minutes. Nobody but her knew beforehand what was going to happen. That night, when the exotic muqarma decoration started blur with dense smoke and loud conversations, the lights went out.  Suddenly, underneath a Moorish arch, appeared the astonishing figure of La Inesperada. That night she performed naked with the skin all painted in blue. She stood still for one minute and disappeared in the darkness. Yves thought that was a revelation. Fast blossoming, sharp disappearance, no remains. That was the kind of action Fernando insistently predicated in his classes. Yves returned every night to Villarosa but he never met La Inesperada. He was shy, he didn’t know what to say. Some months later he unexpectedly received some money from his family and decided to travel to Japan to learn judo at the Sodokan Institute. On Sepetember 23rd of 1952 he arrived to Yokohama one month after departing from Marseille. During his stay in Japan he wrote a book on judo but after two years he understood judo wasn’t he was eagerly seeking. In those years he couldn’t forget the shocking blue image of La Inesperada at Villarosa: he wanted to become an artist like her. He was back in Madrid in March 1954. Fernando invited him to teach judo at his school during the day. But he run to Villarosa at night. At first, La Inesperada reluctantly accepted him as servant. But, as time passed by, she started to trust him. He learned fast and soon he could do the “appear-disappear” actions. By fall Yves knew all her secrets. It is said that, at some point, they became the same character and that he even performed several times as La Inesperada. Fernando Franco de Sarabia was really worried by the extravagant turn in Yves life and one day he decided to challenge him: “If you want to become a true artist you have to produce things to hang on the walls.  Why don’t you use the judo school as a gallery?” Yves listened to his first master and started painting but he never said anything to La Inesperada. The night of the 18th of November of 1954, instead of going to Villarosa, Yves stayed at the school where he opened his first exhibition “Yves Klein: Peintures”. His first series of monochromes covered the walls. He never met La Inesperada again. But she waited for him. Every day. Every night. Until today.

Palabras clave: topografía, lugar concreto, aparecer-brillar-desaparecer, azul

Jaime Conde-Salazar

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