Archive for August 22nd, 2022

Klee’s Secret Place

Paul Klee Groynes 1925

Paul Klee, Groynes, 1925

Chosen are those artists who penetrate to the region of that secret place where primeval power nurtures all evolution. There, where the powerhouse of all time and space call it brain or heart of creation activates every function, who is the artist who would not dwell there?

–Paul Klee

I featured Wassily Kandinsky here last week, pointing out that he was one of the artists who really sparked me with both their works and words. I can almost always find something in his work or his writings that sets my mind racing.

It might come in the form of a visual cue in his paintings or an ideological one in his writings. The interesting part of this is that it’s not always apparent where this inspiration is sending me. It generally feels like something new to me.

And that’s always exciting.

Another artist who does the same thing for me is Paul Klee.

A few days ago, I came across the piece at the top, Groynes, from 1925. Like the Kandinsky piece from last week, this was a painting that I had never viewed before. I can tell, even with my faulty memory, because there is a reaction to certain pieces of art of any kind that leaves a mark.

Maybe it’s a burn from the sparks it sets off. I don’t really know. But I would have remembered seeing it.

The funny thing is that I don’t expect many others to react as strongly to it as I did. There are pieces of art that have an obvious intrinsic appeal– the classically beautiful– where one would not be surprised by a widespread positive reaction. I would not anticipate that kind of reaction to this piece.

But something in it just stopped me. I have been coming back to it over the past few days and can’t put my finger on what I am seeing in it, why it made say “oh!” aloud when I first saw it. And I can’t tell how– or if– I will metamorphize and incorporate it into my own work or thinking. 

It’s perplexing. But in the best sort of way.

By the way, I couldn’t find out much about this piece, even to what the title refers. Groynes are typically barriers that extend out into the water perpendicular to the shore of a river or large body of water to control erosion. But Klee often used words in his own way so it may have another meaning altogether.

I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter to me much. The fire has been already lit.



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