Imi Knoebel Yab-Yum, 2020
In Yab-Yum (2020), Imi Knoebel explores new possibilities in the motif of the shaped canvas. This work is characterised by the use of two exuberant, intersecting shapes, which the artist has previously traced on a piece of paper. The use of densely saturated colours denotes a joyful, candid visual vocabulary, which is reflected by the painting’s unusual shape. Once the viewer is drawn in, the painting engulfs their field of vision and the richly layered brushwork displays subtle variations in tone that enhance the aesthetic experience. ‘Yab-yum’ is a term used in Buddhist art to express the representation of the male deity in sexual embrace with his female consort. The pose is generally understood to represent the mystical union of the active force, or method, with wisdom — a fusion necessary to overcome the false duality of the world of appearances in the striving toward spiritual Enlightenment.