|Die Zwitscher-Maschine (Twittering Machine)|
1922 Paul Klee
Back from the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern, he's one of my favourite artists at the mo.. So, what can I take from his work for myself and what appeals to me about it?
Well to start with, the line execution in his drawings: he came from a draughtsman background. One of his familiar quotes is “Drawing is taking a line for a walk” and his delicate fine-lined style of drawings in pen and ink are great. The gradation of colours and layers used in his paintings, drawings and lithographs and the way he colourised the backgrounds of his works adds not only atmosphere and / or depth but also you feel he spent just as much time getting those blends right because that was just as important as the main element on the page / canvas.
Also how he kept back some of his work from being sold because he felt they were too special which I think was rather brave in itself especially since certain well-known contemporary artists are being referred to as 'conveyor line artists' because they sell nearly everything they do flooding the market not because they need to or are in any way wanting for much more in the way of the material wealth they have already accumulated. Klee held back and only released for sale what he wanted to sell. Control. I get it.
In all honesty I'm not a fan of his 'magic square' pieces but I do love his lithographs and I have the one of the 'Twittering Machine' (see attached photo) blown up to A3 size on my bedroom wall which serves as creative inspiration (upon waking its one of the first things I see and thats deliberate on my part). His work has several themes and styles over the years spread out over 17 rooms in the Tate exhibition so to recognise him for those more familiar pieces would be too simplistic for me, his work speaks of deeper meanings and more interesting experiments - you get the feeling he tried to reconcile something in his work but wasn't afraid of the varying outcomes produced. The fact he taught at the Bauhaus too (Josef Albers being another of my favourite abstract colour experimenting artists who also taught at the Bauhaus before moving on to the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina - check out the history / teachers / students from that place!) and had resisted using the new mechanised methods that other artist teachers at the Bauhaus were discovering and using, preferring to do it his own way and relishing the outcomes. Now there was a craftsman if ever.
I'm going again, soon!