In our weekly feature, we ask artists to describe the one item that they couldn’t do without. This week, Guy Yanai professes his love for his secret weapon, his Lascaux Interlon Flat Brushes.

My work is deviously simple. Almost primitive. I simply paint. Just oil on primed linen. The only medium I use is cold pressed linseed oil. I don’t project onto the linen, I don’t use masking tape or anything else; it’s simply my hand with paint. This makes the brushes I use very important. I only use Lascaux brushes that are made in France. The brush is synthetic (no animal hair) which means it can be shipped worldwide without the regulations of animal products that other brushes have. It has the perfect amount of flex for my hand and can take a lot of wear and tear.

The way that I have been working in the past few years is that every mark of paint has to have a significance. I try to glide the brush across the linen; as few layers as possible. Most paintings have no more than three layers. It’s mainly horizontal “stripes”, but also vertical and diagonal; barely any curves for some strange reason. The Lascaux brushes allow smooth marks and leave this beautiful edge on both sides. In the end the work sits on a very delicate line between image and object; it has a devious physicality to it. It’s these thin lines between two opposing things that really interest me: flat image vs physicality, still frozen image vs movement, stuck vs time, restrained vs drama. It might seem silly, but I have nightmares about not being able to get hold of more of these brushes. I order in bulk every few months and I am absolutely positive no one on earth has as many Lascaux brushes as me. And one last thing, Lascaux is known for super high-grade acrylic paint; I can’t really stand acrylic paintings and it feels good to subvert these brushes for oil. (People always say that Mondrian would have used acrylic if he were alive to see it. I say, no way!)



Guy Yanai, Barbarian in the Garden?

Praz-Delavallade, Los Angeles until 22 December


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