Research Output
Anthropometries Revisited - A Homage to Yves Klein
  This project is presented as a homage to Yves Klein’s Anthropometries series (1960), but with reference to Klein’s devotion to judo. Klein was a 4th dan black belt in judo, and wrote a book: Les Fondements du Judo (1954; recently republished in English as The Foundations of Judo, 2010).
Klein said of Judo that it, “... helped me to understand pictorial space and the discovery of the human body in a spiritual space.” [1]. This project explores potential links between the physicality of judo and Klein’s work as an artist. It also speculates on how the Anthropemetries series may have evolved had he not died prematurely at the age of 34, in 1962.

In the Anthropometries series Klein painted his models - or ‘human paint brushes’ - in his own International Klein Blue before having them press themselves against canvases or drag each other across canvases on the floor, in a choreographed performance to the soundtrack of his Monotone Symphony.
There is evidence of Klein’s fearless physicality in other elements of his work. Leap Into the Void, the famously staged photograph of Klein falling off a building (Harry Shunk,1960; see top row, 4th and 5th images from the left), actually involved Klein falling onto a taught tarpaulin from the second floor of a building, a feat likely aided by Klein’s confidence, through learning to fall (ukemi) in Judo.

The images on the right are from a recent experiment using International Klein Blue, conducted with designer and judo 1st dan Ian Lambert (acting as human paint brush) and spatial designer, choreographer and former dancer Fabian Galama. Here, Lambert, clothed in a Judo suit (or gi) has paint applied to the left side of his body before being thrown to the canvas to make an imprint. The resulting images are a form of mark-making through performance.
Following Klein’s highly physical spectacle Lambert and Galama are developing the project as a performance piece inspired by Klein’s performances. The performance, choreographed by Galama and art directed by Lambert will use a designed space and set, with other performers to create a number of Anthropometric human prints or disegno derived from Judo.


  • Type:


  • Date:

    08 December 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    ND Painting

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    750 Painting

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Lambert, I., & Galama, F. (2017, December). Anthropometries Revisited - A Homage to Yves Klein. Poster presented at Drawing Conversations 2: Body, Space, Object, Coventry University




Drawing, judo, Yves Klein, painting, international klein blue, anthropometry

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