Klee meets Picasso

Yesterday I assisted at a by invitation only preview of the Klee meets Picasso exposition that is opening tomorrow, 6.6. – 26.9.2010. It s the sort of thing where a few VIPs get invited and due to a fluke in the universal constants, I also received an invitation (1). After an excellent series of speeches that included his excellency the Ambassador of Spain, we went to the exposition and I quickly walked through it in less than an hour. I will need to return because it is absolutely fascinating to see the work of the two painters side by side, and the few minutes that I spent cruising the paintings, drawings and statuettes do not do it justice.

What surprised me was an aspect that I call universality and contemporaneity between the two painters. It manifests itself in the themes and the form of contextual experimentation that runs side by side and that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to decide who influenced whom. Mind you, I have been slow in warming to either the artistic sensitivity of Paul Klee or that of Pablo Picasso, but when I see the two’s work side by side, I want to see more.

It took three and half years to put together this exposition, and some of the works being exhibited are from private collections that are rarely exposed to the general public. This aspect and the cunning selection of the works from both painters makes the whole a lot rarer in its ensemble.

(1) All members of the city and cantonal parliament got invited, along with some real VIPs. Given that the ZPK is an institution of national and international significance, I was surprised that, from the looks of it, the national parliament was not invited. One could argue that the size of the auditorium limited the number of guests, but I could also argue that instead of inviting every single member of the city and cantonal parliaments they would have been better served inviting just those that are involved in commissions that advise in matters related to culture, and do likewise with the national parliament.