Hilma af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction
Moderna Museet, Stockholm
May 2013

The subject of a rare retrospective exhibition at the Moderna Museet, Hilma Af Klint was a pioneering abstract painter and one of the most enigmatic artists of the 20th century.

In the following video, Gertrud Sandqvist gives an informative, in depth lecture on the visionary painter. Sanqvist draws on unprecedented access to the artist’s work and journals in her presentation of Af Klint’s life, career, and spiritual approach to art. Working outside the European avant garde, Af Klint’s abstract paintings pre-date the first abstractions of more well known modernist painters. This development is all the more striking because, as Sandqvist notes:

[Hilma Af Klint] had no relationship to any other avant garde circles, being completely isolated in Stockholm at that time… her imagery is very, very similar – close to what later Malevich, Mondrian, and Kandinsky… were developing… [the] first abstract work that she was making was in 1907, two years before Kandinsky.

Sandqvist notes that the rediscovery of Hilma Af Klint’s work began in earnest at the 1987 exhibition The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. That it took decades for her work to appeal to the public would not have surprised Af Klint according to Sandqvist:

Hilma Af Klint’s work was… esoteric, that means it wasn’t shown during her lifetime. She herself in her last will said that this is ‘for the future,’ this is the message for humanity for the future.

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The following video, produced by the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, is in Swedish, but provides an excellent visual overview of the Hilma Af Klint exhibition.

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