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Paul Klee and War: ‘Art does not reproduce the visible, but makes visible’

Bell, Harley (2022) Paul Klee and War: ‘Art does not reproduce the visible, but makes visible’. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

In this thesis, I examine the life and work of Paul Klee and his struggle against the mechanisation of society which led not only to its industrialisation but also to the formalisation of the arts. I suggest further that Klee considered the mechanisation of society to be accelerated by the Great War. Klee strives to confront this increasingly industrialised world through the development of his art, while also reflecting on the very ability of art to address the industrialisation of the everyday life. I examine Klee’s path in this struggle, beginning with his Diaries and also examine his published text, the Creative Credo, written during the War. In the Creative Credo, Klee spells out his newly found understanding of art. The motto from this text: “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible” will guide my exploration of Klee’s artistic motivation. I also consider how the artwork of Klee enables the viewer to pull away from the preoccupations and individual involvement of everyday awareness to contemplate the complex “networks” that lay beneath. Klee’s art is not one-dimensional, instead, by investigating complex networks and associations that lay beneath art and life Klee challenges us to rethink art and life itself.1 Klee’s artwork is still able to speak to the contemporary viewer as it did then because we are still subjected to the same battles.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Ucnik, Lubica
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/66243
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