Artist as Poet: Solitary Bird

On July 21, 2016, Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs Klaus Ottmann shares an overview of Karel Appel: A Gesture of Color. In anticipation, we’re sharing examples of Appel’s poetry paired with his artwork on the blog. 

Appel_Big Head

Karel Appel, Big Head, 1964. Oil on canvas, 74 5/8 x 90 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Gift of the Karel Appel Foundation, 2016

I saw a mouth screaming
and a knife dancing
with a happy crime
that’s enough
that’s OK
it isn’t enough
it isn’t OK

Karel Appel, “TV in the Open Window”










Appel_The Owlman no. 1

Karel Appel, The Owlman no. 1, 1960. Acrylic on olive-tree stump, 61 3/4 x 35 5/8 x 20 1/2 in. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

If I were a bird
so they would say
He flies alone
they would say
He flies through the night
I fly higher and higher
no longer a bird

Karel Appel, “Solitary Bird”
(trans. Klaus Ottmann)

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