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Form as RevoltCarl Einstein and the Ground of Modern Art$
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Sebastian Zeidler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702082

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702082.001.0001

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Private Mythologies

Private Mythologies

(p.207) 5 Private Mythologies
Form as Revolt

Sebastian Zeidler

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Paul Klee, an artist who, because of his difference from Pablo Picasso, mattered nearly as much to Carl Einstein. In the later 1920s, Klee's work prompted Einstein to write a significant amount of art criticism about it, and which was powerful enough to support his argument. Klee became a focus of Einstein's most expansive intellectual project: his theory of “the real.” In Einstein's terminology, the real is not a reality that should be either inhabited or critiqued; it is rather a reality that needs to be actively produced. That production gets under way through an act of ungrounding that Einstein called metamorphotic revolt. This chapter examines how Einstein integrated cosmology into the Nietzschean formalism he had developed in his work on Picasso's surrealism under the rubric of metamorphotic revolt. It also considers the Klee version of Einstein's argument in relation to metamorphosis, myth, revolt, and realism.

Keywords:   Paul Klee, Carl Einstein, art criticism, revolt, cosmology, myth, surrealism, metamorphosis, realism

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