As the end of our A–Z series draws closer, curator Matthew Gale looks at Paul Klee’s influential writings and charts the origin of the artist’s famous teaching, taking ‘a line on a walk’

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  • Creative Confession Paul Klee Matthew Gale © Tate

    ‘Creative Confession’ brings together three short critical texts written by Paul Klee

  • Klee Pedagogical Sketchbook Cover BLOG 2014

    The front cover of Paul Klee’s 1953 Pedgogical Sketchbook

    © Faber and Faber Limited

  • Page 16 of Paul Klee's 1953 Pedgogical Sketchbook

    Page 16 of Paul Klee’s 1953 Pedgogical Sketchbook

    © Faber and Faber Limited

Paul Klee kept his published texts on art quite short. His Creative Confession that appeared in 1920, opened with the famous assertion: ‘Art does not reproduce the visible, rather, it makes visible’ and we decided to echo this in the subtitle of our show, The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee: Making Visible.

Originally published at the Bauhaus in 1925, Pedagogical Sketchbook condensed his early teaching notes. The title shows how it combined educational importance with artistic exploration. He began: ‘An active line on a walk, moving freely, without a goal. A walk for a walk’s sake. The mobility agent is a point, shifting its position forward.’ This is followed by a sketch of a serpentine line that one can imagine Klee drawing on the blackboard in his classroom. By suggesting that the line makes its own decision about taking a walk Klee introduced his audience to more methodical and theoretical concerns.

Pedagogical Sketchbook remains in print as one of the most influential books on the creative method, and we have republished Creative Confession with two other texts by Paul Klee to accompany the exhibition.

Interested in Paul Klee’s writings?

Try our Bauhaus for Beginners lessons with Matthew Gale

The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee: Making Visible is at Tate Modern from 16 October 2013 – 9 March 2014