Explore the world of Paul Klee's 4,000 artworks from the collection at Zentrum Plaul Klee
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Explore the world of Paul Klee's 4,000 artworks from the collection at Zentrum Plaul Klee
Paul Klee, Untitled (Village Church, Stream, Moun- tain and Arched Bridge), 1896. Watercolour and pencil on paper, 8.3 x 9.3 cm. Private collection Switzerland, Deposi- tum at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

BERN.- The Zentrum Paul Klee is daring to make a shift of direction. With 'Kosmos Klee: The Collection', it is devoting a new kind of presentation to Paul Klee’s life, work and thought. Visitors are invited to discover a dynamic permanent exhibition dedicated to Paul Klee, enriched by focused thematic references. The newly conceived gallery opens today, 7 October 2023.

The Zentrum Paul Klee is the most authoritative centre worldwide for re- search into the artist’s life and work. After some sixty thematic exhibitions of works from the collection, it is setting up a permanent Paul Klee exhibition. Kosmos Klee. The collection offers visitors a chronological overview of Klee’s artistic work. Short texts, biographical photographs and films all allow a glimpse into the various phases of his oeuvre. This section of the exhibition features around seventy works, including highlights from the collection, such as the 1937 work Unstable Signpost.

With a total of 4,000 works, the Zentrum Paul Klee owns the biggest collection of works by Paul Klee. 80 % consists of works on paper, in line with Klee’s overall body of work. He was particularly fond of this handy material, which can be used in multiple different ways. Because these works on paper are light-sensitive, the displays are regularly changed.

Immersion in the Paul Klee archive

Alongside his works, the Zentrum Paul Klee houses the artist’s archive. In presenting treasures from the archive, the exhibition Kosmos Klee. The collection gives visible form to the multiple aspects of Paul Klee’s life. His love of music, for example: the archive contains the scores that Klee played, his violin and his record player with record collection. In the exhibition, along- side these objects Klee’s favourite music can be heard as part of a podcast that grants additional insights into Klee’s relationship with music. The archive also contains photographs, letters, Klee’s library and his collection of natural objects. The film Klee. Klee. Klee. Stimmen zu Paul Klee (Voices on Paul Klee), featuring material from the oral history archive, has been made with maze pictures, and is being shown here for first time.

Put in FOKUS

One part of the gallery is reserved for the space FOKUS, some 100m2 in area, which houses temporary exhibitions. These focus other on a particular aspect of Klee’s work or on an artist with a surprising reference to Klee’s work. The first shows Klee’s celebrated depictions of angels. Klee’s angels are not perfect messengers from heaven. They are beings between this world and the world beyond, with very human character traits: they are forgetful and some- times ugly, childlike or even devilish.
In subsequent exhibitions from 2024 onwards, FOKUS also features artists who are barely known in Switzerland: these include, for example, the Egyptian artist Hamed Abdalla (1917–1985), who engaged intensely with Klee’s work. Later exhibitions also examine themes such as the response of architects to Klee’s body of work or the importance of art journals to the global exchange of ideas among artists in the first half of the 20th century.

Alongside from the results of new research, the space also shows specific series of drawings by Klee, or present activities from the sphere of conservation and restoration.

Lingering on set

The Zentrum Paul Klee has collaborated with ZMIK Basel for the newly con- ceived exhibition. A platform with benches and stools is an invitation to linger. Here visitors can listen to the latest music podcast, read books about Klee or simply let their impressions settle.

Digital Guide

The exhibition is accompanied by a digital guide suggesting thematic tours of the exhibition with changing emphases, a biographical overview and a study of events and themes from history and cultural history that were important to Klee’s work. The app can be downloaded from 7 October 2023.

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