Eros and After: Pleasure & Pain in the Early Films of Alain Robbe-Grillet

It’s almost here– just days away! I’ve never been busier and more exhausted but I’ve learned a lot throughout the process of planning my first art exhibit. It’s been quite a whirlwind and I can’t wait to finally construct this fantasy-come-to-life on Saturday morning. There will be clips from Alain Robbe-Grillet‘s films playing at Holyrad Studio as guests weave their way through my paintings (most of which will be available for purchase). There will be a reception and film screening of Robbe-Grillet’s film Trans-Europ-Express at 7pm. For frequent updates, please check out our Facebook event page (and invite all your friends, of course!). Nibble on some cheese with crackers and enjoy the wine that will be served!



Imagine my shock and exhilaration when I discovered that Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Alain Robbe-Grillet’s widow, the most famous dominatrix in France and writer of erotica, will be in NYC the week of my show! She will participate in FIAF NY‘s The Art of Sex & Seduction series on Oct 7, just days after my show. Get your tickets now. If you attend my event, I strongly encourage you to check this out as well. 

Alain Robbe-Grillet and Catherine, 1959.

“Get a glimpse inside the secret ceremonies and sadomasochistic rites of France’s most notorious dominatrix. A screening of provocative highlights from La Cérémonie and Le Contrat, Lina Mannheimer’s documentaries about Catherine Robbe-Grillet, will be followed by a rare appearance by Madame herself.

The modern-day Marquise de Sade and Beverly Charpentier—the woman who gave up her freedom to serve her—will talk with author and journalist Toni Bentley about their love, friendship, and rituals.” – FIAF

Before you go, read Robbe-Grillet’s marriage contract of “conjugal prostitution” written in 1958– though Catherine never signed it. Also read Catherine’s sadomasochistic erotic novel The Image, which was published under the pseudonym Jean de Berg in 1956. Radley Metzger adapted it into his 1974 film of the same name which can be seen on Fandor (you can view all the Robbe-Grillet films that inspired my paintings there, as well.) It’s resplendently graphic, mouthwatering and arousing.

The Image

Announcement: Upcoming Solo Show in Brooklyn On October 3

Big news: I am very excited to announce that I will have a solo exhibit (!) of my Alain Robbe-Grillet paintings. I will host a party for my show and maybe even screen a film of his at the brand new Holyrad Studio in East Williamsburg at on October 3rd. Many of these paintings will be up for sale if you want to spice up your walls. My paintings focus on the first four films of Alain Robbe-Grillet: L’immortelle (1963), Trans-Europ-Express (1966), The Man Who Lies (1968), and Eden and After (1970).


“Within you, may all ecstasy be in agony, and may all pleasure yearn to die.”Marcel Schwob


My series of paintings on the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet started with a pencil sketch of the scenes that first sucked me into his world: it involves a bustier, a coil of rope, and a strangulation (more on that in a later post).

“Reality and fantasy aren’t just intertwined, they’re indistinguishable.” Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch

Afterwards, I started using acrylic paint, Sumi ink, and India ink on watercolor paper. These paintings are self-portraits just as much as they are my recreations of my favorite scenes from his films.



“A kiss is the beginning of cannibalism.”Georges Bataille

The ink splatter technique started off as an accident. I liked the “mistake” so much that I would return to it again and again. The versatility of it– that it can suggest both violence and ecstasy– appeals to me. Likewise, every “scratch” made with my calligraphy pen nib or every stroke of my paint brush, is a wound, scar, or tattoo that brands and defiles the purity of the face (perhaps not dissimilar to the “sex flush,” when one develops reddish spots on their body during orgasm).



“The taboo would forbid the transgression but the fascination compels it.”Georges Bataille

Without even planning it, I seemed to focus almost exclusively on images of strong, disembodied hands (that either circle a delicate throat in a chokehold or tenderly grasp a face to lean in for a kiss) and eyes (that either look directly at the viewer, shut to savor the pleasure or pain being felt, or are covered altogether with a blindfold).



“Extreme seductiveness is at the boundary of horror.” Georges Bataille

I am fueled by the themes of transgression, voyeurism, power, murder, desecration, and evil. Supposed oppositions attract me: the lure of fear, the beauty of betrayal, the nobility of abjection, the euphoria of pain, and the rapture of mortification. Other series in the future (many of which will also be film-related) will explore these themes.


“Pornography is direct and eroticism is indirect. In eroticism, there is a critical distance and a judgement on sexual impulses, while pornography is the absence of judgment. When the crudity of the sexual act goes through the imagination it becomes eroticism, and when it doesn’t, it is pornography.”Alain Robbe-Grillet

In addition to Alain Robbe-Grillet, I am inspired by the work of Yukio Mishima, Jean Genet, the Marquis de Sade, Georges Bataille, Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch, Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Alberto Moravia, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, among others.


Rest in peace, eternally thirsty Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

Christopher Lee

A painting I did in honor of the great Christopher Lee. Besides the Dracula films, my favorite films of his are the Hitchcock-tinged Scream of Fear (1961), the sadomasochistic The Whip and the Body (1963), Jess Franco’s Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970) loosely adapted from the Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir (one of my favorite books), and the Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun (1974).  And I can’t forget his TV appearances in the Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Avengers. May you finally be able to quench your bloodlust, Dracula.

Whip-wielding Christopher Lee in The Whip and the Body

Whip-wielding Christopher Lee in The Whip and the Body dir. by Mario Bava

Christopher Lee in The Whip and the Body

Christopher Lee in The Whip and the Body dir. by Mario Bava

Welcome to my den of sin

… to my noir-infused underworld of murder ballads, hard-boiled odalisques, gangsters, jazz musicians, beatniks, and aesthetes.

My name is Elizabeth Yoo. I am a freelance illustrator and noir writer living in New York.

My tumblr blog lejazznik was my first attempt (a few years ago) at making a website– it mainly became a place for me to post and reblog my favorite films, photographs, music, art, and literature. With this website I hope to finally achieve what I initially wanted to make: a focused, visually stimulating refuge in which I can share my favorite things– the things that make me happy– and indulge in my many interests.

At the moment I am working on a series of paintings inspired by the films and novels of Alain Robbe-Grillet. I can’t wait to share my noir stories with you– they will all be accompanied with an illustration or two.

Please enjoy your stay. Today is also Nancy Sinatra‘s birthday. So let’s celebrate.

Nancy Sinatra

Nancy Sinatra