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Collaboration with CASSILS & the Stanford Social Sculpture class - photo by Zachary Dammann
SWEAT PAINTINGS - Collaboration with CASSILS & their Social Sculpture class

SWEAT PAINTINGS is a collaboration with the artist CASSILS and their social sculpture class at Stanford (Spring Quarter, 2018).


Cassils Studio, Stanford Theater & Performance Studies (TAPS) and Art & Art History are pleased to present SWEAT PAINTINGS as a part of the Vital Signs Performance Series and Social Sculpture Course.

SWEAT PAINTINGS, a live performance and collaboration between Cassils, martial arts consultant Melissa Wyman and Stanford students Ash Ngu, Free Tripp, Meg McNulty, Tori Parrish and Vivienne Le, combines kinesiology, martial arts, and sports science to reinterpret Yves Klein’s Anthropometries paintings.

Painter Yves Klein used naked women as ‘human paintbrushes’ to make his Anthropometries paintings. These works were produced as elaborate performances in front of an audience where Klein, in bow-tie and suit, would conduct the women as they covered themselves in paint (a color he patented as ‘International Klein Blue’) and made imprints of their bodies on canvas to produce his paintings. A little known fact is that in addition to being an artist Yves Klein was a judo master. Klein published The Foundations of Judo, a book illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Klein demonstrating the six major “Katas” (the movements that form the basis of judo), expressing the fundamentals of the art that was Klein's foremost passion.

Playing on Yves Klein’s problematic legacy, SWEAT PAINTINGS is a performance of self-defense choreography accompanied by Klein’s Monotone Symphony. Drawing on personal stories, the language of university legislation, and national political headlines, this new work deals with issues of harassment, microaggressions, and personal boundaries on Stanford University’s campus. With the aid of Melissa Wyman’s background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as self-defense training, the performance choreography combines katas and physical defense scenarios as they build dissonance with the serenity of the Monotone Symphony. The social sculpture ends when the collective bodies leave a sweat stain on a specially commissioned gymnastic mat the color of “International Yves Klein Blue.” The ephemeral sweat stained mark generated is reminiscent of Klein’s Anthropometries paintings, reimagining Klein’s oeuvre through a queer, feminist, socially conscious lens.

Photo by Zachary Dammann