Monday, October 29, 2018

Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim

Architecturally, the Guggenheim is a perfect structure for exhibiting a lifetime of work by Hilma af Klint, Swedish artist and mystic. The spiral climb to the peak of the building mimics the artist's obsession with geometry evident in her now-celebrated abstract works.

Klint's paintings are often visual representations of complicated spiritual ideas. In fact, much of Klint's art was made in response to her seances with a collection of spirits she referred to as the "High Masters." Despite her prolific career, her abstract works largely went unseen for two main reasons: the High Masters instructed her not to show them, and Rudolf Steiner, philosopher and esotericist, advised her to wait fifty years before exhibiting them. Humble and earnest in her spiritualism, she willingly stored away more than 1200 works. As the century progressed, she watched as male artists went on to be lauded as pioneers of a style she had been working in for years.

Now, Klint's prescient genius is openly on display. “The Ten Largest” (true to their name, each painting measures around 129" x 95"), are the most impressive of the collection. Bursting with delirious color and experimental renderings of shapes in nature, the paintings look as if they could have been made this year by some young ingenue. That they were made in 1907 might make you believe in all-knowing High Masters.


  1. Your review is very clear and I feel as though I have a better understanding of Hilma Af Klint's work after reading it. You successfully communicate the overarching concept, or the cohesive glue to the work, and point out specific details about the artist and how that relates to our understanding of her work and the period in which it was created. I do wish that you had briefly mentioned a specific piece to describe how you thought the abstract shapes both represented this spiritual realm and nature.

  2. I love your description of the meaning behind the work and what inspired her to make it. I adds a lot of context to your review and helps the reader to better understand the exhibition as a whole. In addition, speaking of the architecture of the Guggenheim and how it compliments the artists work is very successful and creates a deeper meaning to the exhibition. However, I do wish you talked more about the work itself. You captured the concept of the work but didn't speak specifically about any pieces or techniques. Talking about a few pieces and techniques would add to your review.