Paul Klee may be one of the most inventive artists of the twentieth century. So two weeks ago I seized the opportunity to see his work at the Tate Modern, bringing my (dear) mother along with me. By the way, Time Out London is a great website to see what’s happening in the city at the moment: that’s where I usually find things to do during my free time, whether they are cool exhibitions or nice bars and restaurants to try out.
First, the architecture of the Tate is truly breath-taking: it is a powerful combination of old and new, as it used to be a power station, that had been redesigned in 1994.
Then, the exhibition in itself: Paul Klee’s reputation was established in the inter-war years period thanks to his complex creative process. In fact, he had a very personal use of colours and lines and somehow succeded in connecting the outside world and abstraction, in an attempt to dissociate himself from the war. He usually painted on a small scale, paying attention to details (that you can only see if you are standing veeeeeery close to the painting).
The display is organised chronogically, from 1879 to 1940, and it traces Klee’s life in 17 rooms. The most amazing thing is that you can see the changes in his paintings thoughtout the years, both in terms of colours (dark and brown in the early years; with hints of colours in the end) and in the use of lines and shapes. Yet, some patterns are recurent, such as arrows and triangles, that you can sometimes notice. I was also able to grab the impact of his travels in the Arab world in his representations, again thanks to the use of warm colours and drawings of hyeroglyphs.
In some paintings, you can see houses, villages, sunsets … It is funny to see how the perception of paintings greatly varies depending on the person, and what he or she has been through. It allows you to imagine moments of his life and historical events that influenced his work. In a sense, while painting, he made visible what was not: his thoughts, emotions and what was happening in his mind .
To sum up, the exhibition was great, though it was very crowded. I thought it presented well and clearly the greatness of Paul Klee.
“His art is intimate, modest, humorous, anecdotal, even when apparently abstract, and intensely alert. It repays your attentiveness with its own every time.” says Laura Cumming in the “Observer”, and I agree!
The exhibition is on until 9 March at the Tate Modern.