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Paul Klee – Ghost of A Genius (1922)

I had a postcard of this for years. At first glance, it initially looks like the figure in the painting has two heads that are separated by a row of guitar strings, then when you look closer you see it's just one massive head on this long neck and skinny body. Even though the figure is standing disembodied on this kind of khaki-ish background, which he both blends into and stands out from, like he's looking into a mirror, there's a movement and musicality about it, like he's shaking his head so the guitar strings twang in this blur of motion.
I imagine him as a character in a 1950s Halas & Batchelor cartoon set against a blaring jazz soundtrack that plays as this strange little figure goes about the world having adventures and getting into absurdist scrapes while looking for inspiration, which he then goes home and paints.

The List Edinburgh Festivals Magazine, July 2016, commissioned as part of a multiple-authored piece I response to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery's Edinburgh Art Festival show, Facing The World: Self Portraits from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei, which runs from July 16-October 16 2016. The article also featured work by Laura Campbell, Rachael Cloughton, Rosie Lesso and Susan Mansfield.

ends

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