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Desert city of the future July 15, 2010

Posted by Jenny in art.
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"Chosen Site" by Paul Klee (1927)

Desert city—that’s what I see in this painting.  I have no idea if that’s what Paul Klee had in mind, and that seems just fine. Like all of his paintings, “Chosen Site” invites me to invent a personal interpretation. Klee was representational and he was abstract, he used pictorial images and he used notational symbols, he used a lot of color and he used hardly any color. He was whimsical and he was deadly serious. He was expressionist, pointillist, symbolist, dadaist, cubist, but most of all he was his own man and he painted things however the hell he felt like it.

I love this painting. It gives me all kinds of thoughts that rumble around in my brain without adding up to any single clear message. Here are some things that it suggests to me: dusk in the desert, hot temperatures, a futuristic fantasy of a megalopolis, travel to the moon, the future as it was imagined in the 1920s and not as it is imagined now, giant power plants with chimneys and stacks, north African streets of small, crowded, complicated buildings.

It gives me not just ideas but an indescribable mood that has to do with a warm comfortable dusk and a confident hope for the future, an expanding sense of possibility, a feeling of happiness.

Paul Klee