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By Stephen H. Watson

Why, and in what demeanour, did artist Paul Klee have any such major influence on twentieth-century thinkers? His paintings and his writing encouraged top philosophers to supply key texts in twentieth-century aesthetics, texts that encouraged next artwork heritage and criticism.

Heidegger, Adorno, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, Lyotard, Sartre, Foucault, Blanchot, Derrida, and Marion are one of the philosophers who've engaged with Klee's artwork and writings. Their perspectives are usually considered far away from one another, yet Watson places them in dialog. His element isn't really to vindicate any ultimate interpretation of Klee yet to permit his interpreters' diversified bills to have interaction, to make clear their and on Klee's paintings, and, in flip, to delineate either a background and a theoretical difficult of their midst. Crescent Moon over the Rational finds an evolving theoretical constellation of interpretations and their questions (theoretical, inventive, and political) that deal with and constantly renew Klee's wealthy legacies.

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24 On the Withdrawal of the Beautiful truly articulate what Merleau-Ponty calls “the effort of modern painting,” which has been “directed not so much toward choosing between line and color, or even between the figuration of things and the creation of signs, as it has been toward multiplying systems of equivalences” (EM: 182). Klee’s search for the logos of the invisible in ascent, that is, a higher world, seems to conflict with Merleau-Ponty. For Merleau-Ponty, this transcendence emerges most primordially from below, first of all in the “profound latency” of the body, in our sensibility, the invisible’s reversibility or adherence to the visible, and the earth (EM: 187).

It is precisely this inherent movement that makes it figurative, giving the graphic line “the schematic fairy-tale quality of the imaginary” (N: 76). Hence originates Klee’s objections against the classical view of Lessing (and Hegel, we should add) that painting is a spatial and not a temporal art (N: 78). This view reduces painting to a matrix of dots rather than Klee’s conception by which it emerges, like nature itself, everywhere as movement and as genesis, the articulation of an inner realm antecedent to spatial stasis, an interplay of rhythms (N: 169).

41 Recourse to origins is no longer grounded in the substantive forms of the past but is itself productive and captures the productive transformation in abstraction. As Merleau-Ponty put it, “the originary is not of one sole type, it is not all behind us” (VI: 124). From the outset, Merleau-Ponty insisted on parsing formal truths not as a return to Platonist eternal ideas but rather as results of “productive imagination” (PhP: 386). He also distinguished his account from all naïve naturalist abstraction.

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