Celebrating Hilma Af Klint

On this “International Women’s Day”, I’ve put together a list with suggestions to explore the astonishing work of Swedish artist Hilma Af Kint.

Today considered the first abstract artist in Europe, she was unknown for a long time, until as recently as 2013, when museums around the world started to organize exhibitions and boost the interest in her extensive production. 

Most of the material I’m suggesting here was produced as support for these exhibitions.

Hilma af Klint - Svanen, nr 17
“Svanen, nr 17”, grupp IX/SUW, serie SUW/UW, 1915 © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Biography

This short animated video produced by AWARE (Archives of Women Artists Research and Exhibitions) and Sophie Caron is a brilliant introduction to Hilma’s life and work. Watch it here.

Still from the video produced by AWARE
Still from the video produced by AWARE

The first retrospective 

In 2013, the Moderna Museet Stockholm showed for the first time a retrospective of Hilma’s production: “Hilma Af Klint: A Pioneer of Abstraction”, including paintings, drawings and her immensely detailed notebooks.

On their website, you can explore images of the exhibition and find out more about the topics and symbols that are recurrent in her work. Here

Last year was the time of Moderna Museet Malmo to show Hilma’s work in an exhibition that should be open until this April.

Installation view Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction, 2013
Installation view Hilma af Klint – A Pioneer of Abstraction, 2013 Photo: Åsa Lundén/ Moderna Museet

Interest in the occult

When in 2016 the Serpentine Gallery in London was preparing the exhibition “Hilma Af Klint: Painting the Unseen”, Guardian writer Kate Kellaway travelled to Stockholm to meet members of the Af Klint family and curators and wrote this excellent article that presents us with the increasing interest in Hilma’s art and her experimentation with seances, spiritualism and Theosophy. Read it here.

Hilma af Klint -De tio största, nr 3
“De tio största, nr 3”, Ynglingaåldern, grupp IV, 1907 © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Albin Dahlström/Moderna Museet

Listening to the paintings

This playlist is the audio guide for the 2018 Guggenheim Museum exhibition “Hilma AF Klint: Paintings for the Future” where you can go deeper into selected paintings:


The documentary

“Beyond the Visible: Hilma Af Klint” is a documentary directed by Halina Dyrschka released last year. Halina said in one talk about the movie that she was encouraged to make it after seeing Hilma’s paintings for the first time and thinking why was it that those incredible works of art were hiding for so long from the public.


I hope you enjoy finding out more about Hilma and share with a friend who might like as much as you!

Have a great week!

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