Paul Klee Exhibition: Making Visible

Tate Modern December 2013

This extensive, biographical exhibition sets Klee’s work along side his personal life, his links to other artists and the momentous historical events that affected him and his contemporaries.

I was familiar with Klee’s work before going to this exhibition, but mainly from books and had only seen a handful of his paintings in previous exhibitions. Seeing his work en masse for the first time, the first thing that made a big impression on me was his wonderful sense of colour.

We learn from the accompanying text, that a trip to Tunisia in 1914 has a profound affect on him as an artist, he writes:

‘Colour possesses me, I don’t have to pursue it. It will possess me always. I know it. That’s the meaning of this happy hour: colour and I are one. I am a painter.’

There was so much information to absorb that I feel I should go again to just look at the paintings, but I did come away with a much better understanding of the man and the way his work developed.

I especially liked the inclusions of quotes about him by some of his contemporaries, e.g:

‘He falls in love with a leaf, a star, a butterflies wing and since the heavens and all infinity are reflected in them, he paints those in too.’ (Hugo Ball ‘Flight out of Time’ 1917).

I’ve included a couple of my favourite pieces from the exhibition:

 Klee, Summer-House Klee, Medieval Town