You The Bell exploration archive

Enigma ⸰ Humour ⸰ Meaning ⸰ Growth

Mysterious and lyrical, You The Bell invites us to imaginatively contemplate and have the courage to construct our own 'cosmic garden of meaning'. Paul Klee asked this of his Bauhaus students, it's what the mighty Rilke asks us in his poetry.  

Our artwork is "Around The Fish" by Paul Klee, painted in 1926Profoundly innovative, Klee’s work was as varied as it is influential. Miró, Dali, Rothko & Motherwell name him as a key influence - the lodestar - sitting at the wellspring of the Surrealism & Abstract Expressionism movements.

Despite this his work has signature elements; systems of throbbing forms, otherworldly creatures, stick figures, moon faces, mystical symbols, arrows, quilts of graduating colour... all orchestrated into the fantastical, childlike, meditative. 

Around A Fish is distinctly Klee. It draws us in & compels us. It crosses from depicting worldly things to abstract imagery. Instinctively it feels lyrical, impishly humorous & full of meaning…but what meaning?

We have a garnished platter of fish, on an infinity pool, surrounded by a constellation of seemingly disparate elements, all hovering against a dark abyss. Is it a mix of personal & religious symbols? Does it reference natural history, physics - orbiting bodies, moon phases, crossing from figurative to non-figurative? Man in relation to multiple realities - visual, scientific, metaphysical…?  Are its forms, signs & symbols delivering a pictographic sermon of man’s fate? Or just poking fun at people puzzled by the symbolism in his previous fish paintings?

We can conclude that Around A Fish is an invitation to daydream, to imaginatively meditate on the ‘construction of a cosmic garden of meaning’. Klee believed every artist should cultivate this on a personal level, with its significance helping us to reach & connect on a universal level.

Or we could say using words from this ART WRD’s poem & title;  It invites you in, to serve as your bell tower - with you as the bell.


Rilke is recognized as one of the most lyrically intense poets of all time. His poetry expresses his unique philosophy which developed to reconcile beauty & suffering, life & death. Novelist Herman Hesse said of Rilke ‘through him resounds the music of the universe; like the basin of a fountain he becomes at once instrument & ear'. 

And it was as if through some kind of cosmic fountain that the words of this ART WRD came into being. Rilke wrote the Sonnets to Orpheus & the Duino Elegies, considered his masterpieces, in a three-week ‘savage, boundless creative storm, a hurricane of the spirit’. He described the poems as dictated to him as if from inside a God - that he spent that time ‘howling unbelievably vast commands and receiving signals from cosmic space’.

Let This Darkness Be Your Bell Tower expresses Rilke’s central philosophy - that we must have the courage to create and cultivate our ‘cosmic gardens of meaning’ to borrow from Klee.



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