Shape – A Vulnerable Iteration of Yves Klein’s Anthropometry Series

Paul Kolazinski's preforms, Shape, while standing in front of a blank canvas.
Shape, by Paul Kolazinski. Libertine, Los Angeles, CA. 2023.

Marcia Prentice, who is a great friend of mine, invited me to see performance art at Libertine on Melrose Blvd. one Saturday. She’s the author of, How We Live, an interior and architectural photographer, and an artist who is intrigued by nudity and views the human body as art. I am a complete novice when it comes to performance art, but I answered yes with no hesitation.

The title of the performance was Shape, and it was presented by Paul Kolazinski, a contemporary artist who resides in Texas. It was Paul’s take on Yves Klein’s, Anthropometry series.

He was inspired to create this series when he reached 600 pounds. His weight led to an inability to create art due to his physical constraints, which soon after led to poverty.

Paul Kolazinski performs, Shape, and is pressing his body covered in paint on a blank canvas.
Shape, by Paul Kolazinski. Libertine, Los Angeles, CA. 2023.

We watched as he carefully covered his body in International Klein Blue paint and transferred the paint directly onto a large clean canvas.

Paul Kolazinski standing with wet blue paint on his back.

Kolazinski’s paintings exhibit the raw form of the human body at its capacity for creativity and pain. As he pressed his body on the large clean canvas, the audience got a glimpse of his dissatisfaction as he faced himself. There were also moments of healing for the artist and the audience. His performance was a delicate display of courage and vulnerability. It was soft yet powerful, and the energy filled the space. 

Facing ourselves and self-inflicted disappointments is something we all must face. Paul Kolazinski was brave enough to do it nude. His body merely served as a tool in this live performance of bravery and accountability.

Blue paintings.
Shape, by Paul Kolazinski. Libertine, Los Angeles, CA. 2023.

While Yves Klein unmasked beauty and elitism by painting models, Kolazinski’s works unveil the world of shame, trauma, poverty, and tenacity.

Blue paintings of Paul's body.
Shape, by Paul Kolazinski. Libertine, Los Angeles, CA. 2023.

Yves Klein

Yves Klein (1928 -1962) was a French artist who saw the body as a living paintbrush. He had an affinity for monochrome and a rich shade of ultramarine pigment he made his own; International Klein Blue (IKB). He is most known for his performative art series, Anthropometry, covering nude models in International Klein Blue paint and instructing them to press, drag, and lay against paper or canvas, leaving unique gestural bodily impressions.

Yves Klein (1928-1962), Anthropométrie de l’époque bleue (ANT 124), February 1960. Dry pigment and synthetic resin on paper laid down on canvas. 60¾ x 124¾ in (154.5 x 317 cm). Sold for £27,197,000 on 28 June 2022 at Christie’s in London.

Many say he removed sexuality from the body and made it more about shape, color, and formation. Klein was fascinated by the infinite, the undefinable, and the absolute. He was on a quest to evoke emotion without the need for lines and defined objects, believing IKB inspired spiritual and intangible freedoms. 

Yves Klein (1928–62) Untitled Anthropometry (ant 100) 1960, dry pigment and synthetic resin on paper mounted on canvas 144.8 x 299.5 cm (57 x 118 in), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsoniam Institution, Washington, DC.

Many artists, celebrities, and fashion houses have paid homage to Klein by recreating elements of his work.

Céline spring 2017 featuring IKB (International Klein Blue), photographed by, Saudamini Deo.

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