Paul Klee, “Analysis of Various Perversities” (1922)

Klee’s “Analysis” presents a hard to decipher conundrum consisting of arrows, levers, springs and labeled points like those in a scientific diagram with mathematical symbols, such as vectors representing forces. Klee presents an experiment scene and the overall composition is reminiscent of the “Experiment” by Joseph Wright of Derby (1768). The fantastical contraption used seems to allude to laboratory ethics: neither the forces of nature tamed and transferred to the dissected victim or test animal (lower left) through the cogwheels of the machine nor the purpose of the experiment diminish the experimenter’s guilt.


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