Innocent Paul Klee: Thinking about Existence with Color

  Paul Klee (1879-1940), one of the most incredible painters of the 20th century, one of the most varied, incomprehensible and brilliant artists, he blended the best of various genres without belonging to any genre, he worked tirelessly He has repeatedly researched questions about the essence of existence and the most direct way of expression, trying to explore how to think about existence through colors and abstract patterns, so that his works have absolute personality, and his works have brought immeasurable influence on later generations, people say , Klee is inimitable.
  Klee was born on December 18, 1879 in München Buchsee, Bern, Switzerland. His father, Hans Klee, was a music teacher at a normal school; his mother, Ida Malia, was a vocal teacher at a music school. Klee inherited the artistic talent of his parents and showed many artistic talents since he was a child. He wrote poetry and studied music when he was very young, until later he decided that he could be a painter, and from then on he concentrated on painting, but these All-round artistic talent and artistic training have an important influence on his painting, which makes his works have a poetic temperament, and the combination of composition and color shows a charming sense of rhythm like music, so Klee is called Painter in musical style. In 1898, after passing the liberal arts exam in Berne, he went to Munich to study painting in Heinrich Könier’s studio and met Kandinsky. In the autumn of 1901, Klee and the sculptor Hera went to Italy to investigate the art of the Renaissance. In 1913 he spent almost a year in Paris before heading to Kairouan, Tunisia. This trip was decisive for his artistic evolution. At this time, Klee was 25 years old and primarily a sketcher, with only a few watercolors in color. And after this trip, he found the best way to release his spirit and thinking, that is color. In his Diary, he wrote these words attesting to a new era in his life and art: “I have become one with color, I am already a painter!”
  Since then, Klee has been very handy in the exploration of color, and he has proved to people that he can manipulate lines and colors freely. He seemed to have suddenly comprehended magic, the feeling of letting the genius fly freely. Those color blocks showed free and reckless creation on the canvas, which made his creations full of charm. Whether it is abstract thinking, fantasy or just an impression, he can express it through simple shapes and peculiar colors. Let’s take a look at a work where he expresses his emotions through color blocks, such as “Step Road”. The whole work uses jumping contrasting colors to express a slate road leading to the steps very beautifully. The intricate structure of the stone blocks divided by lines is covered with bright golden yellow strips, and the middle period is decorated with blue-green, forming a chaotic and orderly rhythm. Ups and downs, forming a very rich space. When we look at this painting, the seemingly simple color blocks bring rich emotional content, and vivid and dynamic memories of the road surface on these colors. This work exemplifies Klee’s mastery of color.
  Klee also developed his own theory further. He regards painting as an incredible experience. In the process of this experience, at the moment of inspiration, the artist combines the inner illusion with the experience of the external world to construct a different kind of existence that combines the subjective and the objective. To express in his language is to combine the inner vision with the outer world, to express the joy and silence of the fusion between the “macro world” (art) and the “micro world” (nature). For this reason, Klee especially emphasized the visual experience, attaching importance to the use of shape and color. Our perception of the outside world is first that the foreign objects touch the senses, and then the senses convey them to us. These foreign objects are decomposed into lines, surfaces and colors by him. Klee got a belief from Cézanne that nature is not outside, but deep inside, and the color of the surface should show the inner strength. Let’s take a look at the masterpiece “Savacek”, which is said to be the name of a wild chrysanthemum, representing spring, vitality and hope. The composition of the picture is very simple. A round girl’s face is drawn on the vermilion canvas background. It is very full and is divided into several parts by color blocks. Then the bright and beautiful tones of the face are composed of yellow and pink. The author is affectionate, reflecting the author’s nostalgia for people and things full of happiness, and he endows the color with life.
  In addition to being obsessed with color, Klee had to find a unique configuration to realize his painting concept. His paintings show that a common exploration in the art field at this time is how to find an external counterpart that can best express our inner feelings. Therefore, he also copied the external object, but the copying of the external counterpart is far more than the copying of the body itself. He does not seek the similarity of its shape, but he wants to grasp the rhythm of life in this object. Therefore, in his works, he integrated himself into the objects he depicted: the ciliate nets vibrating under the water, the peaks and peaks weathered into powder, the growing plants, etc., contained himself in the deformed objects. He can also give images to things that had no contours, things that have disappeared, things that have passed: flowers, waves, smoke. Therefore, copying the shape in Klee’s paintings has become unimportant, so when we look at Klee’s paintings, we will find a lot of patterns similar to symbolic characters, like mazes, and some are just some symbols. For example, in “Fugang”, the whole picture is some seemingly meaningless curved lines, some arrows, we follow Klee’s brushstrokes along these lines and walk through every part of Fugang, looking for all the memories, it seems to merge with them One, and slowly felt an atmosphere in the process of patiently following him to find, the memory of the old places and the past. Another example is “The Lost Land”. There are two faces in the middle of the picture. From the top hat on the upper part of the facial features, there is a man on the left, and a woman on the right. A black tear is dripping from her eyes, and a red arrow points to it. On the right, there is a black arrow next to the man’s face, which is saying something from the shape of his lips. This fantasy-like configuration, which looks like a children’s painting, expresses our state of mind that we are in a lost way and ask each other for a way out. What is it that gets us lost, and where is the arrow pointing the way? Perhaps the drifting heart beneath a man’s face is the answer.
  His pictures are often so puzzling, but if we take a closer look, we will find a hidden world, a kingdom full of fantasy. For example, “The Magic of Fish” is one of Klee’s best works. In this work with a black background, a net with a clock is unfolding in the center, and the fish are still swimming happily. On the upper left, a drapery-like thing can be vaguely seen, which is the background of the stage where magic is being performed. Below the work, there is a person with two magician-like faces, and in the lower left corner, a face of a clown disguised as a grimace suddenly appeared. This is both a stage performance and a painting of the underwater world; the whole picture is based on blue and black, but the colors of other patterns such as small fish and flowers are bright and warm, giving a dreamy feeling, It expresses Klee’s indelible innocence, innocence and tranquility. Another example is “Death and Fire” which was written shortly before his death. He suffered from malignant skin sclerosis in 1935, after multiple treatments ineffective, died on June 29, 1940. In this painting, the painter painted the head of the god of death in the center of the square picture, but the god of death is not ferocious. The top is a flaming red flame, the god of death holds a golden ball in his hand, and one person on the left is walking towards the flame. While depicting death, the tone of the picture is a passionate orange, and the picture itself is full of dreams and childishness, which seems to express the painter’s longing for the other side of the world. This is Klee’s profound understanding of death, and it is also the requiem he composed for himself.
  Klee’s paintings are free on the whole, so they are not easy to be imitated. The two biggest characteristics of his paintings that we discussed above – whether it is color or configuration – rely on the greatest impulse and intuition in his heart. Created, he has always believed that it is logically unreasonable for people to deliberately paint a picture. He said: People are learning, by searching for the source to know something, to study the prehistoric image of the visible, but this is not a high-level art, because the mystery begins at a high level. He further believes that intuition can never be replaced. The painter should mainly develop his poetic and painting through inspiration, and then turn it into abstraction through memory. “Just as children imitate us when they play, the painter imitates the place of birth and the power that creates the world.” The essence of this spirit is creativity, but his explanation for the source of this power is not very clear, and his biographer Werner Haverton said: “He was a primitive man with new feelings”. And that’s his talent.
  Some people comment on Klee, his thoughts are always between the real world and the fantasy world, between the world on this side and the world on the other side, between the realm of music and the realm of images, between the figurative and the abstract. Some people once classified it as the surreal school. Judging from his paintings, he has already surpassed the style of this school, but what they have in common is that he always insists on expressing his thoughts on existence with fantastic colors and configurations.