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The Principle of Work Structure of Paul Klee Reflected in the Writings of Robert Walser

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2019, (75), pp.105-134
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.075.04
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : October 7, 2019
  • Accepted : November 4, 2019
  • Published : November 30, 2019

MiRi Park 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study is based on the premise that painter Paul Klee (1879-1940) and writer Robert Walser (1878-1956) have some commonality. The aim of this study is to compare Klee’s sketches and Walser’s writings, and examine how the principle of work structure of the former is reflected in the latter’s writings. Walser was familiar with fine art, and mentioned artistic works in his numerous writings. While he identified the essence of paintings with that of writings, he did not particularly offer the point of comparison. In contrast, Klee pondered the similarity of different arts, and offered the point of comparison called ‘shaping of movement as a space-time category’. According to Klee, a work is created by movement, and, movement of eyesight is converted into lines. His sketches are expressed as the pure description of objects as the elements of lines. Pure treatment of elements is the most perfectly achieved in his last sketches. “It Cries”, Klee’s sketch on a crying angel, and “Approach Lucifer”, a sketch of a demon, are the variations of almost the same formal elements. Nevertheless, based on the minimum structural changes, these figures imply contrasting two worlds, and perfectly express antitheses - good vs. evil, agony vs. indifference, and humility vs. arrogance. Linearity and simplicity defining Klee’s sketches are also essential in ‘And Went’ or ‘A Small Landscape’, early poems of Walser. The meanings of antithetical lines in Klee’s sketches are re-expressed as the lattice structure in the form of structural parallels composed of vertical and horizontal lines in Walser’s poems. Semantically, the lattice structure reminds us of the world of discord, and the world of opposition. Klee defines his creations as projection on a plane, and offers ‘representation of threedimension on a plane’ as his principle of creation. His work like ‘Constitution on Paralleling Horizontal Lines’ is a good example of how he changes the depth of nature into plane relations. As this sketch gives up both the depth dimension and perspective, hierarchical relations of objects are subverted, and are fixed in the situation of dismantlement. In Walser’s proses “Promenade” and “Jacob von Gunten”, the linear continuity of time is omitted, and all the accidents are rearranged in parallels on a plane. Time relations are dismantled in present or un-time, or described in a spatial category. In such ways, Klee and Walser are liberated in provocative ways from the conventional ideas of time and space.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.