Creative Confession brings together three short critical texts written by Paul Klee, one of the most distinctive artists of the early twentieth century. Reflective and often lyrical, the essays exemplify Klee’s artistic thinking and his relationship with the creative process.
Entitled ‘Graphic Art’ (published as ‘Creative Confession’, 1920), ‘Ways of Nature Study’ (1923) and ‘Exact Experiments in the Realm of Art’ (1928), the texts arch into each other through a number of common and overlapping concerns: the alliance between what Klee terms his ‘graphic art’, nature, and abstraction, and the role of the artist in this triumvirate; the notion of genius, equating creativity with Genesis as well as nature; and the importance of the process as well as the outcome of art.
The practical function of these writings was to draw a wider public into a dialogue that Klee was already having with the world around him through his art. Indeed, he said “Art does not reproduce what is visible, instead it makes it visible”, and it is with this philosophy that he talks us through his own creative confessions.
With a postscript by Matthew Gale on the origins and context of the essays, this compact new edition is a must for any Klee fan, as well as those wishing to explore Modern artistic ideas.
Matthew Gale is Head of Displays and Curator (Modern Art) at Tate Modern.
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