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A monthly discussion on people who have influenced photography, directly or indirectly.
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- Mentoris Supremus
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This month we will consider “Around The Fish”, a painting by Paul Klee. Among the most versatile and wide-ranging of modern artists, Klee experimented in nearly every avant-garde style, yet maintained his distinctive artistic personality throughout. A German citizen by birth, Klee moved to Munich in 1906 to pursue his studies. His mature paintings, drawings, and prints push the boundary between abstraction and figuration. Often these paintings are populated by whimsical figures who are carefully constructed from line, color, and shape to form particular designs and tell particular stories. Klee taught for many years at the Bauhaus, the famed academy dedicated to the fine and applied arts. When the Nazi party came to power in 1933, Klee fled to Switzerland; he was later denounced as a "degenerate artist." He remained in Switzerland, in progressively failing health, until his death.
Although they are often enigmatic, Klee believed his personal hieroglyphs and figurative elements had wider connotations: "The object grows beyond its appearance through our knowledge of its inner being, through the knowledge that the thing is more than its outward aspect suggests.
Respond to the painting in any way you find meaningful. Below are some questions you might consider as you think about this unusual piece, and some links to learn more about Klee and his work.
Questions to Consider
1. What is your personal opinion of “Around The Fish”? What do you make of the composition? The use of color? The story? Would you want this painting on your wall? Why or why not?
2. Klee is considered to be the father of abstract art. He relied on color, line and shape rather than a realistic representation of subject matter. Has abstract painting had any influence on photography? Or is photography the antithesis of abstract art? Explain.
3. Symbolism often comes up in the critical discussion of Klee’s art. What do you think the symbols in “Around The Fish” mean? Do you ever use symbols in your photographic work? If so, consider sharing an example.
4. Klee was heavily influenced by music. He was a musical prodigy as a young child. One of the linked articles describes how he made connections between music and his art. Glancing through some of his other work in the links, do you see an influence of music? If you are a musician or musically trained, does music influence your art? How?
5. Have you ever experimented with abstract photography? If so, please consider sharing one of your images here and discussing it.
Links for Further Study
https://www.sfmoma.org/artist/Paul_Klee ... ikQAvD_BwE
https://www.guggenheim-venice.it/en/art ... 2wQAvD_BwE
https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-edi ... -paul-klee
https://www.inverse.com/article/51880-p ... -paintings
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