Guggenheim celebrates early abstract artist Hilma af Klint with colourful new wares
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. §