Paul Klee at the Tate Modern

Klee1Paul Klee often used arrows in his paintings. Arrow for Klee had a significance in many ways – as focus, centre, indication of movement or even danger. The dominance of arrow is clear in the painting I posted previously entitled the ‘Arrow in the Garden’ from Pompidou centre. In this painting from Klee’s exhibition at the Tate Modern some time ago there seem to be an ambiguity about the arrow. The arrow is the shadow of one of the figures and much less emphasised as in other paintings. Rather, the dominant sign in the painting is an exclamation mark set between two female figures and what appears to be the in between time of day when you can both see the moon and the sun. The ballet performers (as the painting is a scene from the ballet) are also confusing in their positions – the one that moves has a shadow of a circle while the one that is stationary (and appears as if holding an exclamation mark) has a shadow of an arrow. I enjoy this apparently deliberate confusion between the narrative of the painting and painting’s ability to be free of any narrative.

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