Mathematics and the prehistory of the visible

Paul Klee (1879 - 1940)

“Mathematics and Physics provide a lever in the form of rules to be observed or contradicted. They compel us – a salutary necessity – to concern ourselves first with the function and not with the finished form. Algebraic, geometrical and mechanical problems are steps in our education towards the essential, towards the functional as opposed to the impressional. We learn to see what flows beneath, we learn the prehistory of the visible. We learn to dig deep and to lay bare. To explain, to analyse. We learn to look down on formalism and to avoid taking over finished products”.

 From Paul Klee’s Notebooks, written during his teaching years at the Bauhaus (January 1921 – April 1931).


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