Yves Klein's sponge reliefs - how to?
December 5, 2007 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I want to make a sponge relief à la Yves Klein, but I don't know how.

So I have a friend who loves Yves Klein, and I want to make a "sort of" sponge relief for her. Yves Klein sites (understandably) don't seem to have "tutorials".

All I've got so far is "buy sponges, cut them to shape, glue to canvas and paint blue" which is a bit dire. (NB the canvas I intend to use is only 30x30cm - it needs to go on a plane.) I'm open to anything and everything (even ideas vaguely inspired by Klein - as long as the intention is clear).

Semi-bonus question: I am not too concerned about the colour itself, I'll make my own - however if anyone has a "OMG I saw this paint that totally reminded me of his blue," I'm all ears.

Thanks for any help you can provide!
posted by ClarissaWAM to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, you probably already know to use natural sea sponges rather than trying to get such nice round shapes from your kitchen sponge, and to make sure they are bleached and dried before you do anything with them.
Looks like the hardest part of this process will be getting the small bumps that provide the interesting texture in the background. For that you might be able to take your kitchen sponge and introduce it to its neighbors the grater or the blender.
To affix the small stuff, I'd use a spray adhesive. For the larger chunks, Elmer's would probably be good.

Then, once you have everything attached, you should spray the whole thing with acrylic sealant. This will both close up those areas that still have adhesive and provide a nice protective layer so your sponges don't soak up tons of the expensive paint you will be covering them with.

As far as paint, I would go with acrylic or even spray paint. (for the even application across many surfaces).
posted by rmless at 2:46 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: Oooh a blender is a good idea!!! (I don't have one but may be able to borrow one). So is sealant cuz I was wondering what the sponges would look like all heavily saturated with paint.

posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:42 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: Right, just thought I'd jump in with a quick follow up as I have completed the project. I ended up going quite a different route from the one suggested by rmless (sorry :P).

For the sponges I used foam polyfilla (over £10 for a natural sponge? gah!). I scratched off the smooth surface of the blobs (painstakingly, using my fingernails) and the result was pleasantly sponge-like.

For the "little bumps" I used coarse table salt. I "glued" it to the canvas with clear sealer.

I painted it with acrylics (ultramarine) - my main regret is that I couldn't avoid the "paint streaks", but I didn't wanna fool around with spray paint in my tiny flat.

Finally, in case anyone's interested... here's the result. (obviously self-link!!)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:47 PM on December 12, 2007

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