Monday 5 November 2018

Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim

Installation view of Hilma af Klint's "The Ten Largest." Image courtesy Ben Davis

Why Hilma af Klint’s Occult Spirituality Makes Her the Perfect Artist for Our Technologically Disrupted Time

Review on the exhibition on Artnet by Ben Davis
"Assembled in a chronological progression up the museum’s spiral, the show feels like both a transmission from an unmapped other world and a perfectly logical correction to the history of Modern art—an alternate mode of abstraction from the dawn of the 20th century that looks as fresh as if it were painted yesterday."

(...) "Hilma af Klint's example shows the symbolic power that a woman artist could draw both in spite of and because of the constraints put on her by her time period and her culture, making her a convincing heroine for today. But there is another aspect of Hilma af Klint that makes her oeuvre enter into harmonic relation with the present. That is her occultism.

Af Klint’s interior life, I gather, remains a bit of an enigma, glimpsed through hints and fragments in her journals. What is definitely known is that she had begun attending séances as a teenager, using them as a way to contact her younger sister, who had died young. Af Klint’s turn to abstraction grew from experiments with contacting the dead, particularly as part of a group of women who christened themselves the Five, going into trance states or channeling with a machine called a psychograph."

(...) "Hilma af Klint wanted her art hidden from the world until society was ready for it. What exactly that would have meant to her remains elusive. And nevertheless, she has surfaced right on time."

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