Hilma af Klint – artist, mystic, front runner from Stockholm, Sweden

The boys bragged of being the first to paint abstract art but while she was honing her skills on landscapes and portraiture, minutely depicting every detail of realism, she was exploring her higher conscious.

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Spring Landscape – Scene from the Bay of Lomma 1892

The ‘boys’ included the likes of Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, František Kupka and Piet Mondrian. But where was she at that time, the early 1900’s? Where was her art? Why don’t we know more about her? Smart lady. She knew and surmised that the public simply wouldn’t be ready for it and kept it all hidden in a loft somewhere in Stockholm only to be released at least 20 years after her death. It was the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm that took the plunge followed by highly successful showings in Berlin, Malaga and Louisiana.

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Now for the first time in Helsinki, we are able to marvel at her broad scope of styles ranging from minute realism through naivety to huge bold sweeping brush strokes to geometricality that is intense in its complete balance and accuracy.

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As Iris Müller-Westermann, curator of the Moderna Museet puts it, “She didn’t say she was the first, she was the best, that she did it. Her approach was different. She believed that she was merely an instrument of spiritual forces who worked through her. Her quest was to understand the world and her place in it.”

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Hilma af Klint – A Pioneer of Abstraction was on show at Kunsthalle from 16 August until 28 September 2014.

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