Friday, July 12, 2013
Anthropometries of the Blue Period
Yves Klein is awesome.
Why is this awesome? After all, he's just putting blue paint on women and they're squishing their bodies against a canvas. Anybody can do that!
What I dig about Klein is all the sublimated sexuality. Sex is creation. Art is creation. If you don't have any children, you might go into art instead. That's why (I suspect) a lot of gay people go into the arts. You want to create something that lasts beyond yourself. The desire to breed, to leave a mark on the world, is very strong. So if human reproduction is not working out for you, if you're not able to create a family, you can focus all that drive and energy into art.
To me Klein's work is incredibly sexual. The blue paint is a metaphor for semen, he impregnates women with it, and they give birth to a beautiful work of art. I look at his art and it stirs up primal feelings.
And what's fascinating is how boring sex can be, from an artistic standpoint. Porn, for instance, aside from being masturbation material, is incredibly boring. It's very reductive and it's very stupid. Sex makes us stupid! Or, rather, sex reduces us to our animal selves, to our primal urges.
So the trick, as an artist, is to be subtle about human sexuality. To control it, repress it, and keep it underneath your work. That's why I think To Catch a Thief is one of the great Hitchcock works. That film is awash in human sexuality, and yet it's playful and fun. As a suspense film? It's mediocre. But as a love story, as a study of sexual relations between men and women? It's fantastic.
Klein's art reduces women to sexual creatures, to mysteries. All of them are alike and all of them are different and we don't understand them and we can't understand them and we feel passion for them and all we can do is mark them, as they in turn leave their marks on us. And thus we have blue shadows on a white wall. It's quite primitive and oh-so-brilliant.