Festival Art

The only British showing of work by PAUL KLEE from the BUrgi

Collection I

Words: Helen Monaghan

s set to be one the Festival’s major talking points.

Klee was one of the 20th century’s great innovators and the custodians of his collection just love Edinburgh

The Botanic Garden was the setting for the last major exhibition of Paul Klee's work back in 1974 at a time when the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art was housed in Inverleith House. Being the sole UK venue to show this remarkable private collection is certainly a great coup for the gallery, and it says a lot about the gallery’s reputation that the collection’s owners, the Biirgi family, have chosen to return. 'We were offered it about a year ago by the Biirgi family out of their affection for Edinburgh, Scotland and the gallery in particular,’ says Richard Calvocoressi, keeper of the National Gallery of Modern Art.

Born in Bern, Switzerland in 1879, Paul Klee is one of the 20th century's most innovative artists. His instantly recognisable early works, the small- scale, colourful abstract watercolours, will be shown along with over 130 oils, pen and ink, prints, gouaches and drawings. Representing his entire career, the exhibition is a complete pictorial biography of his life.

After taking us through his early works, The Private Klee moves on to Munich in 1906, then an important centre for the avant-garde. His friendship with Wassily Kandinsky and August Macke prompted Klee to join Der Blaue Reite (The Blue Rider), an expressionist group which

24 THELIST 20 Jul—3 Aug 2000

contributed to the development of abstract art.

A turning point of his career was his visit to North Africa in 1914. Klee was overcome by the light and colour of the landscape, 'Colour has taken possession of me; no longer do I have to chase after it, I know that it has hold of me forever,’ Klee wrote.

The exhibition then focuses on his time teaching at the Bauhaus school after World War I, where his works becomes more geometric to the end of his career, where the tone darkens considerably. Dismissed from his teaching post at the Diisseldorf Academy in 1931 by the Nazis who termed his work 'degenerate', Klee returned to his homeland of Switzerland. Suffering from a crippling collagen disease, scleroderma, he began to produce extremely sombre works, employing heavy dark lines. This period of his career is often seen as his reflections on death and war.

Since Scottish audiences have not seen a complete collection of his work for over 25 years, Paul Klee will no doubt be new to some gallery goers. And as Calvocoressi points out, 'it's time for a new generation to discover his work.’

I The Private Klee: Works By Paul Klee From The Bargi Collection (Fringe) Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 72 Aug—22 Oct, Mon—Sat 70am—5pm, Sun noon—5pm, £4 (£3).


Salvador Dali’s Optical Illusions

’The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad,’ Dali insisted. But as you enter his eccentric world at you may beg to differ. Inspired by dreams, hallucmations, his fascmation With illu5ion is celebrated in this remarkable exhibition.

I Salvador Dali ’5 Optical Illusions (Fringe) Dean Gallery, 624 620, 22 Jul—l Oct, Mon—Sat 70am—5pm, Sun noon—5pm, [4 (f3).

Alan Currall

Glasgow-based artist Alan Currall gets his first major solo exhibition. His new CD-ROM work Encyclopaedia parodies the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Friends, family and former school teachers speak on a mutually agreed subjeCI to create Currall's Video version of this authoritative and weighty tome.

I Alan Curra/l, Stills, 622 6200, 8 Aug—23 Sep, daily, 70am—8pm until 27 Aug {Tue—Sat 70am—5pm during Sep), free.

Lawrence Werner

Born in the Bronx in 1942, Weiner was one of the inventors of conceptual art For the Festival, he Will be creating site-speCific work for the gallery entitled TIME + PLACE, a series of huge text pieces applied to the walls in charcoal.

I Lawrence Weiner, Inver/eith House, 552 7 7 7 i, 72 Aug—29 Oct, daily, 77am—5pm, free.

Jon Schueler

American abstract expressionist painter Jon Schueler spread his life between a studio in New York and a cottage in Mallaig on the west coast of Scotland. Often compared to his one time teachers, Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn and Mark Rothko, his abstract works capturing the changing light and atmosphere of the Scottish west coast are Similar to Turner’s late works and Constable's studies of clouds.

I Jon Schue/er, Ing/eby Gallery, 556 4447, 2 Aug—9 Sep, Mon—Sat 70am—5pm, free.

Shirin Neshat

An installation consisting of two Videos prOJected onto oppOSite walls, a male Singer performs in front of a male audience to rapturous applause While a female Sings paSSionately to an empty auditorium. Dealing With social, cultural and relig:ous codes of Muslim societies, New York based, Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat shows Turbulent along With the first UK screening of So/iloquy.

I Shirin Neshat, Fruitmarket Gallery, 225 2383, 5 Aug—23 Sep, Mon—Sat Ham—8.30pm, Sun noon-8.30pm, free.