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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fish Magic by Paul Klee


Fish Magic is inspired by the theatre, or more probably the puppet theatre. Curiously, Klee has pasted a separate piece of canvas to the left center. The resemblance between a fish tank and a stage did not escape Klee, who has fostered it by a hint of curtain at the top left corner, and by the odd little figures who look out from inside the proscenium opening. But this is no ordinary aquarium, nor stage, inhabited as it is by fish, plants and celestial bodies all together. Their timeless world is observed by two ‘representatives’ of the human race, and is invaded by time in the shape of two hour-glasses and a steeple clock lowered into the scene in a net or fish trap…the additional piece of canvas represents a zone of time, through which fish pass indifferently but which alters the character of the principal human figure, whose head it divides into halves. This little person with two faces looks solemn on the left within the human time-scale, joyous on the right within the time-scale of the natural world. Klee’s work shows many such analogues of divided humanity, contrasted with the unitary laws of nature. - Douglas Hall

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