Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen – review

Currently on at the Serpentine Gallery in London is an exhibition by a Swedish painter titled ‘Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen’. The works on display showcase her first and final series of works from the body of work called Paintings for the Temple. We asked Outside In artist Jan Arden to review the exhibition before it closed on 15 May 2016. Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), is now regarded as a pioneer of abstract art. While her paintings were not seen publicly until 1986, her work from the early 20th century pre-dates the first purely abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich.


“A few years ago a good friend of mine Miriam King introduced me to the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint. I was curious, but didn’t really know anything about the artist and being self absorbed at the time, I made a mental note and forgot about her and her work. I didn’t know that she was a psychic artist and visionary until I went to her exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park.

Although she was an accomplished portrait and landscape artist she gave all that up to delve into the esoteric world of seances  and decided to connect with other worldly beings. Along with four other artists she tried to unlock the veil of the hidden mysteries in order to explore automatic writing and art. In these altered states she contacted a higher being who revealed to her some amazing ideas and abstract forms and scenes both symbolic and literal, but yet to this day undecipherable. None of her work was exhibited for forty years, as was her wish, and only now are scholars, philosophers and artists alike trying to make sense of her work – good luck to that I say!


My personal experience  was one of being overwhelmed and deeply touched by her use of colour, context and communication. I was trying to read the paintings to look deep within, to try to connect with her mind, her spirit, her very essence. I wanted the total experience of the art on display. Wow! What more can I say, but to get yourselves down to this amazing show which is on until 15 May at the Serpentine Gallery, London. No need to bring your spirit guides as many are available on request. Enjoy!”


To find out more about the exhibition follow this link.

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