Beyond Laughter and Tears. Klee, Chaplin, Sonderegger


In Paul Klee’s work cheerfulness and tragedy, lightness and the plunge into the abyss often tip into one another. The exhibition sheds light on the exchange between Paul Klee and his friend Jacques Ernst Sonderegger, a Swiss artist et cartoonist. In the early phase of his work Klee received important artistic stimuli from Sonderegger.

Their correspondence reveals a shared understanding of humour as a key to human beings, of satire as a commentary on the comedy and tragedy of human existence. The starting point for this exhibition is Paul Klee’s little-known friendship with the Swiss caricaturist Jacques Ernst Sonderegger, who gave the young Klee important artistic direction.
Klee and Sonderegger shared a sense of humour: the then-thriving genre of caricature embellished and satirized social and political life. By contrast, caricature offered Klee and Sonderegger a way to pose fundamental questions about human life.
What do we want from life? What inspires hope, what leads to failure, and what makes us forget the pain? Can art offer an escape from the everyday challenges, exhilarating temptations, ideological constraints, and absurd paradoxes of modern life?

The works in this exhibition are playful and sometimes grotesque in their explorations of desire and frustration, sense and nonsense, life and theatre, affection and monstrosity. At the same time, they express the hope that humour can overcome human fallibility, violence, and mortality.

Framing the exhibition are scenes from Charlie Chaplin’s films, which enter into fascinating dialogue with the work of Paul Klee.

The exhibition shows selected works by Klee and Sonderegger in dialogue and offers a context for the first publication of their correspondence.


- 24/05/2020   every Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun   10:00 - 17:00





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