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The championship of Kandinsky-abstractionist contest show Hilma af Klint in the Guggenheim Museum

In the Guggenheim Museum in New York presented the exhibition "Pictures for the Future" - a review of the works of Hilma af Klint, a Swedish artist of the late XIX - early XX centuries. The first solo exhibition in the United States is devoted to breakthrough years (from 1906 to 1920), when it first began to create abstract and stunningly imaginative paintings that now force art historians to reassess modernism and its development.When Hilma af Klint began writing radically abstract paintings in 1906, they were little similar to what artists created before her: bold, colorful and without a single link to anything recognizable in this world. Only years later, Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Pete Mondrian and their adherents took similar steps to rid their works of representative content.The Swan of Hilma af Klint1915And although many of the more famous contemporaries of Hilma af Klint published manifestos and were widely exhibited, she herself kept her innovative paintings mainly in her personal collection. The artist rarely showed them and, convinced that the world was not yet ready to understand her works, set a condition: the works would not be shown for twenty years after her death. Because of this, until 1986, art historians and connoisseurs knew almost nothing about the work of af Klint and paid serious attention to her canvases and drawings only for the next three decades.

Hilma af Klint in his workshop (c. 1895). Source: Wikipedia
Hilma af Klint was born in Stockholm in 1862 and was a descendant of a galaxy of naval heroes and cartographers. In 1887, she graduated with honors from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and soon established herself as a respected artist. She exhibited skillfully executed figurative paintings and served for some time as secretary of the Association of Swedish Women Artists.

In the same years she was deeply engaged in spiritualism and theosophy. These forms of spiritual quest were very popular in Europe and the United States, especially in literary and artistic circles. People sought to reconcile the ancient religious beliefs with scientific achievements and new awareness of the global plurality of religions. Af Klint began attending sessions after losing her younger sister, and the turn to abstraction in her work was the result of experiments with spiritualism. She entered the group of women who dubbed themselves the "Five", brought themselves into a state of trance or "sent energy" using a machine called "psychograph".
  • Hilma af Klint, "Primordial Chaos, No. 7" (1906/07). Artist Foundation, Stockholm
  • Hilma af Klint, "Primordial Chaos, No. 13" (1906/07). Artist Foundation, Stockholm
Spirals, fractal patterns and scratched fragments of text after the sessions of the “Five” with automatic writing and drawings look like the primary chaos, from which the bold abstraction “Ten Most Important” (1907) originated. This is a series of ten wall paintings representing a symbolic image of the cycle of life. The first two are childhood, and then youth, maturity, maturity and old age. Full of oscillating abstract figures, pictures, nevertheless, are perfectly balanced both in separate compositions and in the general structure. The expressive freedom with which the “Ten Most Important” were written was probably made possible by the fact that Af Klint almost never showed these works.Series "Ten most important", №4. Early lifeHilma af Klint1907Ten most important. Early lifeHilma af Klint1907Series "Ten most important", №7. Maturity Hilma af Klint1907 The members of the Five also believed that they could find a connection with the “Highest Masters” - spirits named Amaliel, Ananda, Clemens, Esther, Georg and Gregor. One of them allegedly assigned a mission to Af Klint - to write "Pictures for the Temple". This cycle now occupies a significant part of the exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. “Amaliele made an order for me, and I immediately answered yes,” the artist wrote. “It became the main order of my life.”
These works, created between 1906 and 1915, reflect an attempt to formulate mystical views on reality. Stylistically, they are strikingly diverse, including both biomorphic and geometric forms. Among them are large-scale and small in size; both with a maximalist and minimalist approach to composition and color.
  • Hilma af Klint, "The Altar, №1" (1915). Artist Foundation, Stockholm
  • Hilma af Klint, "The Dove" (1915). Artist Foundation, Stockholm
Hilma af Klint wanted to hang these works in a spiral temple, but these plans did not materialize. Even years after the end of the cycle, she continued to push the boundaries of her new abstract vocabulary, experimenting with form, theme, and seriality in creating a number of her brightest works.
The exhibition “Hilma af Klint. Pictures for the Future "works in the Guggenheim Museum in New York until April 23, 2019. Art: read us in Telegram and see on Instagram
According to the materials of the official site of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and atrnet News. Main illustration: Hilma af Klint, Altar series (from left to right) No. 2, No. 3, and No. 1; photo - George Etheredge / The New York Times