Amongst the many female artists who’ve fallen out of the public eye over the years, Hilma af Klint is one of the more provocative. Born in Stockholm in 1862, the painter began creating highly abstract paintings in 1906, well before figures like Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich found fame doing the same. While the latters’ philosophies and manifestos went on to be widely published, af Klint kept her work private. She rarely exhibited them due to her doubts that the public was not ready to understand them and even stipulated that nothing would be exhibited until 20 years after her death. Thus, her work only started to be shown in 1986 and has only recently begun to receive its just attention.
Hilma af Klint’s oeuvre is currently being shown at the Guggenheim Museum in New York – the first major solo show devoted to the artist in the United States. The exhibition focuses on paintings made during from 1906-20, the period where af Klint began producing non-objective paintings. Organised in collaboration with the Hilma af Klint Foundation in Stockholm, this survey of af Klint’s work is an enticing explosion of shape, colour and symbolism, influenced by the scientific discoveries and spiritual movements of her age.
To celebrate the exhibition, Guggenheim New York has created an exclusive collection of fashion, homeware, stationery and jewellery pieces, inspired by af Klint’s works. Produced with a predominantly female group of artisans and designers, the collection ranges from ceramic vases and incense holders to scarves, t-shirts, bags and a watch, incorporating gestural geometric forms and washes of bright colour.
Featuring the work of Hellen van Berkel (Netherlands), Margaret and Colleen Clines (USA), Ibai Demirdache (Canada), Maya Luz (USA), Karen Konzuk (Canada), Michele Quan (USA) and Michele and Martin Yeeles (USA), the 60-piece collection is certainly one way to ensure that af Klint’s legacy for daring and imaginative thinking remains in tact.
‘Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future’ is on view until 23 April 2019. For more information, visit the Guggenheim website
Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
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