If you are in a creative rut or have a bad case of the winter blues, get down to Tate modern in London, where until the 9th of March, 2014 you can rejuvenate your sense of wonder by seeing the retrospective of Paul Klee's work. Critics are calling it the most comprehensive exhibition of the artist's output, because it encompasses everything from his first experiments, to his last exhibited work. I personally experienced a journey to the other side of the mirror – looking at Klee's work is like nothing else – you see a one of a kind creative genius at work.
Some of the early paintings and collages look like they were made by a very talented child - the unending lines reminding a sophisticated version of connect the dots by someone who doesn't want to stay within the lines. One room has Bauhaus graphic design inspired paintings that take you back to the opticians office, another room houses Analysis of Diverse Perversities (1922) – a print that probably served as inspiration for cartoons like Courage the Cowardly Dog and half of the other content on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Yet another room has paintings that took ages to make by using a painstaking technique where Klee primed the paper, then tinted it with a color, let it dry and then tinted it again and did this for a lot of times. In an age of photoshop layers, it is obvious you develop a certain respect for craftsmanship. By room twelve (there are seventy in total), it already takes the shape of the work of a mature master, the paintings look like what a best of album might sound like. And if anything seems funny, it is precisely because the artist intended it to be, not because it looks like a smart child made a comical doodle without removing his hand from the paper.
After having visited the exhibition, you'll notice Klee's influence everywhere – in the paintings by Miro, Keith Haring or the even amateurish arts and crafts projects sold on Etsy. Klee's influence shouldn't come as a surprise: he taught at the famous Bauhaus school of art and his books and lecture notes are very much on the curriculum in art schools today.
Even though the artist's sense of humour is hard to miss, some of the works deal with sensitive material like war and death, but it never becomes overbearing. Paul Klee's work is usually regarded as having very wide appeal and this exhibition proves that he has something to offer for everyone, but most importantly, the exhibit offers a look at a mind of a creative genius.