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Rechnen und Zeichnen – Klee und Wittgenstein

From the book Aesthetics Today

  • Richard Heinrich


Calculating and Drawing - Klee and Wittgenstein. When we ask ourselves where (and how) it is that calculation takes place, Paul Klee’s etching Old Man Calculating from 1929 seems to offer, at first sight, a simple alternative: Inside our head, or with the help of our fingers. Wittgenstein’s remarks on mental arithmetic provide strongmotivation to take into consideration a third possibility: The sheet of paper we use to produce external symbols for mental operations. From this perspective, Klee’s etching (and particular features of its execution) can be understood as a reflection on the significance of formal rules in the creation of individual works of art.

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