©"FOOTPRINT"-Nohra Corredor
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The idea of "MOVEMENT" as the principle of Paul Klee Art

by Nohra Corredor

"Ultimately, it is movement in all its ramifications that Klee returns to again and again, and that not only influences his idea of form but also governs the vision of a dynamic life process in which genesis is the principal current". Ernst-Gerhard Guse on Klee

From 1920 to 1931 Klee taught at the Bauhaus,(in Weimar and Dessau) the teaching institution for the arts founded in 1919, at Weimar, Germany by Walter Gropius and during this period of time produced a series of lectures and essays which remain among the most important contributions to art theory in the 20th.Century. The relationship between the artist and the world of nature is mainly contained in his lectures "Ways of Studying Nature (1923) and "On Modern Art" (1924). His theoretical essays reprinted as "Creative Credo" ed. Jurg Spiller, London and New York 1961("The Thinking Eye" by Paul Klee, "The Notebooks of Paul Klee") with the "The Diaries of Paul Klee"/1964 give us the thoughts and insights of his work and his relationship with Nature.... "his extensive collection of natural curiosities- a kind of twentieth-century wunderkammer of all that was most beautiful or bizarre in nature" (cit.by Richard Verdi/"klee and Nature"/1984) complement Klee's extraordinary path through time.

Klee's keen awareness of TIME led him to identify the element of "movement". It became his muse. This principle and his influential teaching is best expressed in his own metaphors and symbols.

For Klee, the pendulum represents movement in space and time, "it symbolizes the mediation between gravity and momentum, between rest and movement".
Of the spiral: "It is the direction that decides whether we are being released from the center in a movement that is ever freer or whether we are becoming more and more attached to a center that will ultimately destroy us: the question means nothing less than life and death".
With his students he walked his own symbolic labyrinth: "Let us develop: let us draw up a topographical plan and take a little journey to the land of better understanding. The first act of movement (line) takes us far beyond the dead point. After a short while we stop to get our breath (interrupted line or, if we stop several times, an articulated line). And now a glance back to see how far we have come (counter-movement). We consider the road in this direction or in another direction(bundles of lines). A river is in the way, we use a boat (wavy motion). Farther upstream we should have found a bridge (series of arches)..."
On " the history of the artwork, which is chiefly genesis, may be briefly characterized as a secret spark from somewhere, which kindles the spirit of man with its glow and moves his hand; the spark moves through his hand, and the movement is translated into matter"...In the work of art, paths are laid out for the beholder's eye, which gropes like a grazing beast (in music, as everyone knows, there are channels leading to the ear - in drama we have both varieties).
In his pedagogical notebooks, lectures and sketches, Klee was not only concerned with the problems of form and design, but with ways to study and to interact with nature. To a teacher of young art students he offered his advice: "When they are ready to move on to higher things, guide your pupils towards nature--into nature. Make them experience it, how a bud is formed, how a tree grows, how a butterfly unfolds, so that they may become just as resourceful, flexible, and original as great nature. Looking is revelation, is insight into the workshop of God. There, in nature's womb, lies the secret of creation"..."Fellow man, arise! Learn to appreciate this 'villegiature': a change of air and viewpoint, a world that distracts you, and gives you strength for the inevitable return to work-a-day grey...."
One of his best own metaphors...the tree whose trunk is the artist. The pattern of growth of the roots is the pattern of nature (the artist's source of forms and ideas); this pattern is reflected in the growth of the branches and blossoms, but in this final flowering (which is the work of art) nature has been transformed by the richness of the artist's imaginative instincts.

Klee's main goal in life was outlined at a very young age (in 1902) when he stated: "My immediate and at the same time highest goal will be to bring architectonic and poetic painting into fusion, or at least to establish a harmony between them."(Cit. by Jurgen Glaesemer, "Paul Klee, the Coloured Works" in the Kunstmuseum Bern). Paul Klee's affinity with "arquitecture" is well documented in art history. Klee's Bauhaus career is the subject of a book by Christian Geelhaar, "Paul Klee and the Bauhaus"/Bath 1973.

  • Homage to Paul Klee/"FOOTPRINT"/1999 by Nohra Corredor


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