Painting with a chainsaw

Jean-Yves Klein takes daring technical steps for a traditional painter, using a chainsaw, axes and chisel to 'paint' on wood.

By RACHEL MARDER
June 16, 2011 14:18
Jean-Yves Klein

Jean-Yves Klein 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Greek mythology tells of a beautiful woman who follows her inquisitive eye to a jar that, unbeknown to her, has been filled with evil and malice by vengeful gods seeking to punish Prometheus for stealing their fire and sharing it with humans. The irony of Pandora – “gift-bearer” – of course, is that the only gift she bears once she opens the jar is the spread of plagues and disease throughout humanity. All is not lost, however. The lovely creature – and first female, according to mythology – closes the jar just in time to keep hope locked tightly away; it is preserved, still possible, not lost amid the new chaos of the world.

Painter and sculptor Jean-Yves Klein offers a glimpse of that hope inside his open vessels of heavily worked wood. Peering inside the vessels, the viewer comes face to face with surreally painted faces and swaying figures.

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