Re-harmonized region

Made by yiyangg

I reproduced Paul Klee's monochromatic work, Harmonized Region. By coloring and controlling the saturation and lightness, I explored how these color elements affect the impression of the artwork.

Created: September 6th, 2016



Paul Klee, Swiss-German, 1879-1940

Klee is known for his artworks that variously incorporate styles including expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. As a prolific artist with more than 10,000 paintings, drawings and etchings, he captured aspects of his life through his artworks ranging from personal moods, to dry humor, and even political beliefs. He taught at the Bauhaus School of Art from 1921 to 1931 and is recognized for his exploration in color theory along with his colleague at the school, Wassily Kandinsky. Also, influenced by his early experiences in music, he is famous for polyphonic painting, which creates a sense of rhythm through simultaneous effects of contrasting elements.



Harmonized Region, 1938, Oil on burlap on cardboard

I have long been fascinated by Klee’s vivid, humorous paintings. But I found this piece very distinctive among his works as I browsed through the gallery online. Monochromatic, and seemingly abstract. And as I dug further into this artwork and Klee himself, I found this piece of work even more intriguing.

Context and proposition: The work was composed in 1938. It was the year right after Klee’s paintings were labeled as “Degenerate Art” by Nazi regime and prohibited because they were considered “un-German, Jewish, Communist in nature”. To me, the title, Harmonized Region, not "Harmonious Region", implies Klee’s rebellion against the idea that art should be disciplined and “traditional”.

Composition and my response: The work is abstract at first sight – random monochromatic patches, but at the same time, it is concrete in a physical sense – a piece of burlap attached to a cardboard; The textures and shapes of these patches are never identical (the two patches in the center are especially different), however, these differences are wiped out by a uniform color of grey. These contrasts convey a sense of awkwardness, uncomfortableness, and in this particular context, disobedience to me. It is reticent but angry and I can somehow imagine the dynamic, vivid picture before the burlap was monochromatized.



I am intersted in the way Klee creates a sense of rebellion and movement through seemingly monotone and static composition. Klee exploited the same hue as a unifying element as opposed to varieties in texture, shapes, concrete/abstract elements. I wondered what effect it creates if I manipulate other properties of the composition. Using digital medium, I am able to finely control the saturation, lightness, shape or texture to be uniform, which I believe is difficult in traditional form of art practice.



Using photoshop, I brush-painted  the patches with colors of the same saturation, the same lightness, but different hues, in order to see the effect of harmonized multi chromatic region.