As our blog series continues, curator Matthew Gale outlines one of Paul Klee’s central ideas – that artists should not be confined to painting the visible things they see around them
In January 1924, Paul Klee delivered a carefully prepared lecture at the Kunstverein – the public art gallery – in Jena, a city in central Germany. He made a case for the artist’s need for freedom of the imagination. This was a familiar theme, but one that he articulated with especial clarity. It is typical that he pointed out that, while everyone would recognise that there is a relationship between the buried root system and the visible crown of a tree, no one would expect them to be identical. In much the same way, Klee argued, artists act as interpreters of the worlds that feed their art but should not be expected to be identical with the visible. The lecture was published after his death, in English simply as Paul Klee on Modern Art.
The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee: Making Visible is at Tate Modern from 16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014