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Artists take a line for a walk in new exhibition at Zentrum Paul Klee in Switzerland
Jonathan Lasker (*1948), How to be Unique, 1993. Öl auf Leinwand, 76 x 101 cm. Courtesy Kienzle Art Foundation© The artist.

BERN.- How artists take their lines for a walk is the theme of the latest exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee. Their line formations are like abstract scribbles, letters, hieroglyphics and calligraphic signs. The exhibition investigates the features that writing and artistic creation have in common. Both acts are controlled and gestural – they combine concept and spontaneity. The selected artists move between these two fundamental poles, stressing the importance of the process.

The exhibition «Taking a Line for a Walk» explores the significance of handwriting, script and written signs in artistic work. Starting with Paul Klee’s interest in handwriting and calligraphy, the properties of writing are more closely examined. Traditional scripts such as Latin, Arabic and Asiatic, convey not only content but form as well. Their structure, horizontally or vertically arranged lines, as well as their outward form correspond to certain norms. Writing is also characterised by the individual hand of the artist. Writing follows certain rules so that the script can be deciphered, and is at the same time the spontaneous expression of an individual. Handwriting thus unites a mental concept with spontaneous gesture. Hence it often also serves as a model for the artistic process.

The artists selected for the exhibition not only use writing as a pictorial element, but develop their artistic activity between the twin poles of spontaneity and concept. In their statements about their work they repeatedly stress the importance of process and movement. So this exhibition is not only about WHAT is depicted, but about HOW. The artistic working process is central.

The area of tension between gesture and concept extends from the gestural scripts of Henri Michaux, Mark Tobey and Cy Twombly via Paul Klee, Brice Marden and Olav Christopher Jenssen to the conceptual painting of Jonathan Lasker or the «Word Paintings» of Christopher wool. With paintings by renowned artists who can be seen as lying within the American and European trends or offshoots of Abstract Expressionism, the exhibition draws a line from Klee to the present day. The pieces on display include key works by artists such as Cy Twombly and Brice Marden, but also works that are seldom shown, such as the posthumous series of drawings by Henri Michaux.

An exhibition with works by von Olav Christopher Jenssen (born 1954), Paul Klee (1879–1940), Jonathan Lasker (born 1948), Brice Marden (born 1938), Henri Michaux (1899–1984), Mark Tobey (1890–1976), Cy Twombly (1928–2011) and Christopher Wool (born 1955)

The exhibition is curated by Fabienne Eggelhöfer.

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