Hilma af klint meaning

Warning that symbols cannot be taken to mean only one thing and that their meaning may shift in the context of their relationship to other symbols, the Moderna Museet, Stockhom, offers this guide to the symbols this artist uses.

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The snail or spiral represents development or evolution. The eyelet and the hookblue and yellowand the lily and the rose represent femininity and masculinity respectively. The almond shape arising when two circles overlap is called the vesica piscis and is an ancient symbol for the development towards unity and completion. The swan represents the ethereal in many mythologies and religions and stands for completion in the alchemical tradition. They were hidden for 40 years.

There was one lecture in Finland in the s and no exhibition until It is hard to see them even online because they have not been available in the world.

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She came as a revelation to us, Alexandra, because her life and work and the fact that you cannot buy any of it show how a woman lived her life making her way against the blandishments of the world but living fully in the world…. Skip to content. Guggenheim Museum, NY has seen the largest attendance they have ever seen and this for the work of the Swedish artist and spiritual pilgrim, Hilma af Klint, Share this: Twitter Facebook More Email.

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Sarah Loading I will forever be fascinated by her art and, most of all, by her as a person Loading Thanks for reading…. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter and mystic whose works are said to be the first paintings of abstraction in Western art history.

hilma af klint meaning

Driven by a connection to the spirit world, her output of large abstract works was not widely exhibited until decades after her death, as the artist feared their misinterpretation. Af Klint was born in outside Stockholm, Sweden, to a well-established family. She was the daughter of a naval officer and the fourth of five children.

Her younger sister died in at the age of 10, an event which af Klint would carry with her for the rest of her life and which would cement her interest in the world of spirits. By the age of 17, af Klint was interested in the world beyond human perception, but it was not until she was in her mid-thirties that she began to attend regular meetings of the Edelweiss Society, an organization of spiritualists in Stockholm.

Founded in the United States in the late 19th century, theosophy sought to reassert the unity that was destroyed when the universe was created and was drawn from Hindu and Buddhist teachings. This drive towards unity can be seen in many of af Klint's canvases.

Early twentieth century movements of spiritualism have been, perhaps contradictorily, linked to the history of science and advances in the observation and documentation of previously unknowable aspects of existence, among them the discovery of the X-ray in and radioactivity in Believing these discoveries to be evidence of a world unknown to the human eye, spiritualists embraced the world of the microscopic.

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, af Klint began to sell work in the naturalist style. It was through the sale of these more traditional works that af Klint would support herself. As member of De Fem, however, af Klint was moved by a higher power to create her abstract works, a radical departure from her classical training.

Inshe wrote that she was called to create paintings by the High Masters, but it was not until that she began work on the Paintings for the Templea project which would span nine years and encompass works. The Paintings for the Temple make up the bulk of the artist's output, in which she created paintings for an as-yet-unbuilt temple, whose ascending spiral would house the works. Af Klint left behind numerous notebooks which contain the key to deciphering this symbol-heavy work, which uses shapes, color, and an invented language to communicate its meaning.

For example, for af Klint, the color yellow represented the male, the color blue represented the female, and the color green was a symbol of unity. The Ten Largest is a series of paintings which chronicle the lifespan of a human being, from birth until old age. It is possible that she lay these works on the floor in order to paint them, an innovation in art not revisited until the s, when abstract expressionist artists would take the same radical step.

hilma af klint meaning

She would return to it four years later and complete the project in Her mother died in Hilma af Klint died in with barely a penny to her name, explicitly stating that her work should not be exhibited until 20 years after her death, suspecting that the world was not yet equipped to understand it.

The retrospective of her work, titled Paintings for the Futureat the Guggenheim Museum, was received with critical acclaim. Share Flipboard Email. Hall W. Art History Expert. Rockefeller is a writer and art historian, specializing in the work of woman artists from to the present.

Cite this Article Format. Rockefeller, Hall W.Hilma af Klint.

hilma af klint meaning

No form can come into objective existence — from the highest to the lowest — before the abstract ideal of this form — or, as Aristotle would call it, the privation of this form — is called forth. So with future men. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled The world is often not ready to accept what pioneers working on the spiritual plane have discovered in their lifetime, and therefore some things must wait to be revealed. It was not until that the first major exhibition of her work was shown at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

The museum curated more than paintings and notebooks. These works were unpacked from mysterious trunks, some of which had never been opened, and included her thoughts, mediumship experiences, and notes about her paintings. Until recently very little was known about the artist Hilma af Klint and her mystical paintings. Born in Sweden inshe studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and became an accomplished landscape and portrait artist in her early years.

This was her public art and how she earned her living; however there were other sources from which quite different paintings were inspired. It was sometime after the death of her sister inthat Hilma af Klint became interested in spiritualism and mediumship.

This, she was informed, would follow a period of preparing to mediate a message. In Hilma af Klint joined the Theosophical Society and became interested in the work of Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, and most likely read Thought Formstheir ground-breaking book that discussed how thoughts could be seen as colored forms carrying the intent of the sender.

All of these encounters informed her spiritual development and influenced her esoteric practices. This evolution in her approach could be considered as the progression of an initiate to that of an advanced pupil or adept who learned how to manage her spiritual teachings.

Her first painting series of the commission, The Templeconsists of several large groups of paintings on various themes. Some are composed of organic shapes — others are more geometric. Spirals and snails depict the spiral of evolution, and the tendril, as seen in plant growth, represents the consciousness that embodies life and seeks to grow. Words and letters also have significance in her work. The letters AO and WU respectively represent spiritual evolution and the duality of spirit and matter.

Hilma af Klint

Evolution, No. The last group of paintings in The Temple series consists of three large paintings that are called altar pieces. These works depict Theosophical concepts of spirit descending into matter involution and matter ascending into spirit evolution — an unending cycle, the universal dimensions of time and space without beginning or end represented by the circle. The first painting, Altar Piece No. Sounds and colors are all spiritual numerals; as the seven prismatic rays proceed from one spot in heaven, so the seven powers of nature, each of them a number, are the seven radiations of the Unity, the central, spiritual S UN.

During this time she painted the Parsifal and Atom series and a set of paintings on the great religions of the world. The Atom series seems to be a working process to gain greater insight into duality principles and planes of existence. After meeting with Rudolph Steiner again inHilma af Klint joined the Anthroposophical society and became immersed in the literature. These teachings influenced her to give up geometric abstraction and she started to paint predominantly formless watercolours.In these idyllic surroundings she came into contact with nature at an early stage in her life.

This deep association with natural forms was to be an inspiration in her work.

hilma af klint meaning

From her family, Hilma af Klint inherited a great interest for mathematics and botany. She showed an early ability in visual art and, after the family moved to Stockholm, she studied at Tekniska skolan in Stockholm Konstfack todaywhere she learned portraiture and landscape painting. She was admitted at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at the age of twenty. This was the main cultural hub in the Swedish capital at that time. Hilma af Klint began working in Stockholm, gaining recognition for her landscapes, botanical drawings, and portraits.

Her conventional painting became the source of financial income, but her 'life's work' remained a quite separate practice. In her younger sister Hermina died, and it was at this time that the spiritual dimension of her life began to develop. Her experiments in spiritual investigation started in In she met Rudolf Steinerthe founder of the Anthroposophical Societywho was visiting Stockholm.

Several years later, inshe met him again at the Goetheanum in DornachSwitzerland, the headquarters of the Anthroposophical Society. Between and she spent long periods at the Goetheanum.

Hilma af Klint: a painter possessed

Af Klint's work can be understood in the wider context of the Modernist search for new forms in artistic, spiritual, political, and scientific systems at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The works of Hilma af Klint are mainly spiritual, and her artistic work is a consequence of this. At the Academy of Fine Arts she met Anna Casselthe first of the four women with whom she later worked in "The Five" De Fema group of artists who shared her ideas. One, Gregor, announced, "All the knowledge that is not of the senses, not of the intellect, not of the heart but is the property that exclusively belongs to the deepest aspect of your being Through her work with The FiveHilma af Klint created experimental automatic drawing as early asleading her toward an inventive geometric visual language capable of conceptualizing invisible forces both of the inner and outer worlds.

Hilma af Klint felt she was being directed by a force that would literally guide her hand. She wrote in her notebook:. The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke. Inafter 20 years of artistic works, and at the age of 44, Hilma af Klint painted her first series of abstract paintings. The works for the Temple were created between andcarried out in two phases with an interruption between and As Hilma af Klint discovered her new form of visual expression, she developed a new artistic language.

Her painting became more autonomous and more intentional. The spiritual would continue being the main source of creativity throughout the rest of her life. The collection for the Temple are paintings, grouped withinin several sub-series. The major paintings, datedare extremely large: each painting measures approximately x cm.

This series, called The Ten Largestdescribes the different phases in life, from early childhood to old age. Quite apart from their diagrammatic purpose the paintings have a freshness and a modern aesthetic of tentative line and hastily captured image: a segmented circle, a helix bisected and divided into a spectrum of lightly painted colours.

The artistic world of Hilma af Klint is impregnated with symbols, letters, and words. The paintings often depict symmetrical dualities, or reciprocities: up and down, in and out, earthly and esoteric, male and female, good and evil. The Swan and the Dovenames of two series of the Paintings for the Templeare also symbolic, representing respectively transcendence and love. As gates to other dimensions, her paintings call for interpretation on a narrative, esoteric and artistic level while evoking primordial geometry and humanistic motifs.

When Hilma af Klint had completed the works for the Temple, the spiritual guidance ended. However, she continued to pursue abstract painting, now independent from any external influence. Her later paintings are significantly smaller in size. She painted among others a series depicting the stand-points of different religions at various stages in history, as well as representations of the duality between the physical being and its equivalence on an esoteric level.

As Hilma af Klint pursued her artistic and esoteric research, it is possible to perceive a certain inspiration from the artistic theories developed by the Anthroposophical Society from onward.TLmag is dedicated to curating and capturing the collectible culture — the international players and evolving expertise that shape art and design.

Read more about TLmag. Although af Klint barely ever exhibited her abstract works during her lifetime, her body of work is considered to be one of the most radical and unprecedented rediscoveries in recent artistic history. Produced over nine years between andall paintings and drawings of these series are divided into smaller series and groups within the exhibition. The overall theme of the series is to convey different aspects of human evolution, instigated by polarity — which is also to be seen stylistically.

The works are incredibly dialectic — incorporating a broad spectrum of expansive and intimate scales, biomorphic and geometric forms, as well as maximalist and reductivist approaches towards their composition and colouring. The series also thematizes different stages of development that every human being goes through during life on earth. The temple in the title refers not only to a physical building, which af Klint imagined would house the work but also to the body as a temple for the soul.

The New Gallery within the exhibition is dedicated to the cartographic-like note-taking system that af Klimt dedicated herself to as a way to process and understand the deeper meaning of her spiritually guided work.

When she was painting she meditatively allowed something bigger to pass through her and manifest itself in works of art. She then spent her life, systematically and analytically trying to understand the meaning behind her paintings, drawings, and writings. View our Newsletter archive. Email Address. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Print this article.

Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, no. Hilma af Klint, Parsifal, No. Hilma af Klint, The Swan, No. Hilma af Klint, Group 2, No title, No. Hilma af Klint, The Dove, No. Share Facebook Twitter Pinterest Print this article. Axel Vervoordt Gallery: Yun Hyong-keun.Paradoxically delicate and powerful, the art of Hilma af Klint quietly and privately delivers a loud and essential message.

Creating abstract canvases five years prior to the first by Wassily Kandinskyand experimenting with writing and drawing guided by the unconscious decades before the Surrealiststhe woman was a pioneer.

Yet, af Klint's sensitivity surrounding the ethereal was married to an analytical and scientific way of navigating the world. She was an eager botanist, well read in natural sciences and in world religions. With unsurpassed wisdom and in anticipation of human foolishness, not only did af Klint state that her work was not to be shown for 20 years following her death, but she also stipulated that no work could be sold separately, ensuring that her artworks could not become misunderstood commodities.

Hilma af Klint was born inin Solna, Sweden, as the fourth of five children of a Protestant couple, Mathilda af Klint and Victor af Klint who was an admiral and a mathematician.

Most of her childhood was spent in Karlberg castle, the naval academy where her father was based. During the summer, the family would move to Hanmora, in Adelso, an island in Lake Malaren, where Hilma's fascination with nature and organic life began.

Chaos No. This primary sequence appropriately investigates origin and the primordial essence of the universe in all of its manifestations. Here for example we are confronted with a circular object that could at once be flying or floating. We could be witnessing a space ship from another galaxy, but equally an emerging moth or soaring kite.

Indeed, the artist's drive towards union is further emphasized by the fact that this series is also referred to as the 'WU' series, where W represents man and matter, and U stands for woman and the spiritual.

Following this line of interpretation, Af Klint developed her own language whereby the color blue represented the male and yellow, the female. When the two colors combine they create a harmonious green, implying that marriage of polarity is spiritually important. This work and others in the series recall images of fertilization, snapshots of the moment of creation when the sperm meets the egg.

Af Klint records in one of her notebooks that both the snail and the spiral represent for her development or evolution. For the art critic Mark Hudson the artist's use of symbolism makes the work "feel closer in spirit to much later Surrealism than to abstract art per se". A similar approach is defined by art critic Jonas Magnusson when he claims that "Af Klint's abstraction does not abandon reality but instead emphasizes it, releasing it "in the form of messages or transmissions on new frequencies, data that is visualized through different signs, words, symbols, forms, colors, diagrams".

The large painting, over three meters in height and two meters wide, is composed of free-flowing organic forms of different sizes and colors bright yellow, red, green, light blue, and white set against a lilac background, punctuated by lines at once diagrammatic and scripted.

Likely inspired by af Klint's botanical studies, the large yellow form is reminiscent of a bloom emerging from a bulb. Along these lines, art critic Adrian Searle claims that "af Klint was also influenced by Darwin, by the ways nature's forms and plant growth are dictated by mathematical progression".

These forms, enriched by circling words and stylized letters for example the white 'h' located on the bottom left cornerestablish further levels of symbolism and metaphorical understandings. For Mark Hudson, these "curving shapes and cryptic inscriptions - 'sox, sax, sex' or 'eros wu' - hint at suppressed eroticism".

Painted on paper, on the floor of the studio and then pasted onto a canvas, af Klint's technique looks forward to a preference for large scale shared by the Abstract Expressionists, and in general, by more men than women.Hilma af Klint, Group 2, No title, No. The exhibition further expands the understanding of this ground-breaking Swedish artist and researcher.

Hilma af Klint — left behind a comprehensive and visually striking oeuvre. Her abstract paintings are as powerful as they are enigmatic, captivating in their complexity, scale, and pictorial language. A radical pioneer of an art that abandoned the depiction of visible reality, the artist opened doors to new horizons at the beginning of the twentieth century. The show toured to six other venues in Europe and generated tremendous international interest and new research.

Her multifaceted oeuvre provides insight into the various dimensions of human existence in which microcosm and macrocosm mirror each other. From onward, her work as an artist is inextricably linked to her parallel interests in a spiritual realm. Af Klint was convinced that she was in contact with higher levels of consciousness while she was painting.

While af Klint stipulated that these abstracts works should not be shown until 20 years after her death, at the earliest, she wrote in one of her notebooks that a new age would eventually come, when women would take the lead. Presumably, she also thought that this would be the time when future viewers, whether men or women, would be open to and thus capable of receiving the fundamental knowledge transmitted through her work.

The richly illustrated exhibition catalogue brings together new perspectives on Hilma af Klint. The catalogue is available in the Moderna Museet Shop. Based on the recommendations from the Swedish Public Health Agency, the number of people inside the museum at any given time will be limited. All visitors, including journalists, are required to prebook tickets online in advance. Search for.

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