„Ono što čovek može da zamisli obično prevazilazi ono što on vidi, budući da mašta po svom obimu prevazilazi stvarnost, osim kada je u pitanju Kairo, gde čovek vidi ono što ne može da zamisli.“
Ibn Haldun, arapski istoričar, 14. vek
Na sajtu Kunstsammlung.org nedavno se pojavio tekst koji predstavlja izložbu dva nemačka slikara različitih umetničkih provenijencija – Maksa Zlegvorta i Paula Klea. Zajedničko obojici umetnika je putovanje u Egipat kao deo obrazovnog procesa koji će za obojicu biti višestruko koristan.
Posetioci će posredstvom izlaganja dela oba umetnika moći da uoče generacijsku razliku, kao i istorijske okolnosti koje su uslovile, između ostalih, formalne razlike njihovih slika. Zlegvort putuje 1914, u doba kada je on još uvek engleska kolonija a Nemačka imperijalna sila. Kle putuje između 1928. i 1929. tokom potpuno drugačije umetničke i društvene klime obe zemlje. Evo jednog odlomka sa sajta:
This exhibition juxtaposes the works of a pair of artists who, although coexisting during the same period, exemplify highly divergent pictorial traditions and intellectual worlds. Not only did Slevogt and Klee experience Egypt differently, they processed their artistic perceptions in markedly contrasting ways. Slevogt journeyed to Egypt in spring of 1914, when the country was still under British colonial rule. His journey (which also took place during the German Imperial era), stood in the tradition of the Grand Tour typically undertaken by painters of the Orient. Fifteen years later, during the turn from 1928 to 1929, Paul Klee followed the same route from Alexandria via Cairo and Luxor to Aswan. Now under altered political and social conditions, his journey took him to a country that had achieved independence in 1922. With the foundation of the Weimar Republic at the end of World War I, Germany too experienced a political reorientation.
Both artists had been familiar with the culture of ancient Egypt through exhibitions held in Germany after major excavations such as those at Tell el-Amarna, where the celebrated Bust of Nefertiti was discovered in 1912. Slevogt’s image of Egypt was also stimulated by fantastical tales such as The Thousand and One Nights, which captivated him already as a child, and served as a continuous source of inspiration for paintings and illustrations. As early as the period around 1900, Klee had incorporated forms into his works that are reminiscent of the pyramids and hieroglyphs. A trip to Tunisia in 1914 further fueled his interest in North Africa and the Orient. The impressions Slevogt received in Egypt sparked a hitherto unprecedented coloristic and compositional virtuosity. Not the historic ruins, the pyramids and temple remains, stood at the center of Slevogt’s interest, but instead the people, everyday life at the marketplaces, along with the endless desert landscape. Unlike Slevogt, Klee traveled to Egypt alone and with minimal luggage. Klee produced almost no work in Africa, instead reflecting upon and transforming the visual stimuli he received there in a series of new works only after returning to his studio. *
Slika: Paul Kle: Paul Klee, „Veče u Egiptu“, 1929.