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Large Blue Anthropometry [ANT 105] [La grande Anthropométrie bleue (ANT 105)]


In his brief, seven-year artistic career—cut short by his premature death in 1962—Yves Klein created a heterogeneous and critically complex body of work that anticipated much of the art of the succeeding decades, from Conceptual art to performance art. Anxious to break with all forms of expressionism, Klein had, practically from the outset of his career, "rejected the brush," which he felt was "too psychological," in favor of rollers, which were more "anonymous." Between 1958 and 1960 he perfected a technique that allowed him to expand on this idea: he used nude models as "living brushes" (pinceaux vivants) that created marks and impressions under his supervision. Large Blue Anthropometry [ANT 105] is one of a group of four works that represent the apotheosis of Klein's "living brush" technique. Klein called these works his Battles (Batailles), a term that evokes the art-historical genre of history painting. The Anthropometries maintained Klein’s insistent separation between the work and his own body, and also allowed him to revive the nude without resorting to traditional means of representation. In this work, the corporeal forms of the figures have become largely illegible, and their movements across the paper register more as explosive bursts, splatters, and smears of paint, as though to parody expressionism and abstraction.

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