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.
We watched as he carefully covered his body in International Klein Blue paint and transferred the paint directly onto a large clean canvas.
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.
While Yves Klein unmasked beauty and elitism by painting models, Kolazinski’s works unveil the world of shame, trauma, poverty, and tenacity.
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.
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.
Many artists, celebrities, and fashion houses have paid homage to Klein by recreating elements of his work.