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Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future

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Mixing psychology, Christianity and Buddhism, historical fantasy and science fiction, “new age” ideals were amazingly popular, particularly among educated women, who used those ideologies to carve themselves new social niches outside the suffocating strictures of church and family. FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/16/2022 Embed 'Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future' in your visual library forever! Well before Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich declared themselves the inventors of abstraction, af Klint was working in a non-representational mode, producing a powerful visual language that continues to speak to audiences today.

The current celebration of af Klint's paintings suggests the primacy of visual communication should be backdated.In the catalogue and exhibition, a relationship was suggested between abstraction and the various spiritual movements that spread through the Western world around the turn of the twentieth century. The Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862–1944) was forty-four years old when she broke with the academic tradition in which she had been trained to produce a body of radical, abstract works the likes of which had never been seen before. It is as though, in our apocalyptic time, we need af Klint’s work now more than ever, and the purity of vision and intent it represents.

FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/13/2018 Hilma af Klint: casting fetters aside "The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas" (1920), Hilma af Klint's small canvas from the Series II group of paintings, is reproduced from Paintings for the Future, published to accompany the acclaimed af Klint retrospective currently on view at the Guggenheim. She most recently organized the exhibitions Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe (2014) and The Avant-Gardes of Fin-de-Siècle Paris: Signac, Bonnard, Redon, and Their Contemporaries (2013). Her biggest achievement is to establish a context for af Klint’s work, upending popular assumptions that she was a mystical outsider who floated free of her historical and social milieu. Essays explore the social, intellectual, and artistic milieu of af Klint's 1906 break with figuration and her subsequent development, placing her in the context of Swedish modernism and folk art traditions, contemporary scientific discoveries, and spiritualist and occult movements.Of crucial importance is the issue of spirituality in af Klint’s painting - how she managed to translate both the material and the immaterial world into a pictorial vision. Voss does a good job of filling in the gaps with detective work and speculation, although in places the conditional does a lot of heavy lifting. The woman who emerges in Voss's exacting portrait is strong-willed, purposeful, and confident—ahead of her time and perhaps ours too. She worked on international exhibitions and catalogues of Alice Neel, Lee Bontecou, Paula Rego and Constant.

Once considered an outsider artist, after her show at the Guggenheim Museum was seen by over half-a-million visitors, Hilma af Klint firmly established her place in art history. Julia Voss has been instrumental in bringing her story to the forefront and tells her life with such sensitivity, generosity, and insight.A roundtable discussion among contemporary artists, scholars and curators considers af Klint's sources and relevance to art in the 21st century.

But, like many of her contemporaries, af Klint was also interested in the invisible relationships that shape our world, believing strongly in a spiritual dimension. Believing the world was not yet ready for her art, she stipulated that it remain unseen for another 20 years.

Birnbaum has held the position of Rector at the Städelschule Fine Arts Academy at Frankfurt at Maim in Germany and has also actively written for Art Forum. The concentrated spirituality- egoless consciousness- that is delivered by the best pictures here, so fresh that they might have been made this morning or tomorrow or decades from now, feels like news that is new again. The Guggenheim Museum offers a revisionary chapter about the start of modern abstraction in its current headliner, “Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future,” introducing works that this Swedish artist and mystic made in 1906-7. You'll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Up until the beginning of the century, she painted mainly landscapes and detailed botanical studies.

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