Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hilma af Klint, “Une Modernite Révélée,” (A modernism revealed)

This is probably one of the best secrets, that is not really a secret, happening at the moment in Paris. A modest exhibition of paintings and drawings by this Swedish artist who lived between 1862-1944 is on view at the Swedish Cultural Institute in the Marais. Set in a beautiful, Hotel Particuler building, the Institute also boasts a great little café with delicious coffee and Swedish pastries.

Hilma Af Klint has come somewhat into vogue recently and this is a very good thing. In fact her work was not exhibited following her death until 1986, and this, I believe, was her doing. She had asked that her work not be shown for 20 years after her death. I am not sure exactly why…just know I read it at the exhibition. In any case, she was a pioneer in the field of abstraction in art. She pushed herself further and further into realms of spirituality, in particular with Rudolf Steiner, and the Theosophical movement founded by Madame Blavatsky, which focused on mediumistic séances. She was also part of a group of artists, all women, called “The Five,” that included experimenting with automatic drawing and which sought to find news modes for expressing the spiritual through visual means. The paintings are amazing examples of the power that abstraction could hold back in its early days; Abstraction to attain or obtain a higher knowledge and thus a better art and work that pushed boundaries in form, structures and image. Her website details more of her amazing story.
On view thru July 27th. 11 rue, Payenne, 75003.

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