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Hilma af Klint

A Pioneer of Abstraction


Hilma af Klint in her studio at Hamngatan 5, c. 1895 (Photographer unknown)

Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction In the spring of 2013 Moderna Museet is dedicating a major exhibition to Hilma af Klint (1862-1944), featuring many works that have never before been shown in public. This retrospective exhibition of a pioneer of abstract art is Moderna Museets tribute to Hilma af Klint as one of the greatest Swedish artists. A woman artist whose work is still far too unknown to a wider public, Hilma af Klint eschewed representational painting as early as 1906. Between 1906 and 1915, she produced nearly 200 abstract paintings, some of which are in monumental formats. Like Vassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich, who have previously been regarded as the main protagonists of abstract art, Hilma af Klint was influenced by contemporary spiritual movements, such as spiritism, theosophy and, later, anthroposophy. Hilma af Klints oeuvre builds on the awareness of a spiritual dimension of consciousness, an aspect that was being marginalized in an increasingly materialistic world. When she painted, she believed that a higher consciousness was speaking through her. In her astonishing works she combines geometric shapes and symbols with ornamentation. Her multifaceted imagery strives to give insights into the different dimensions of existence, where microcosm and macrocosm reflect one another. Hilma af Klint left more than 1,000 paintings, watercolors and sketches. Although she exhibited her early, representational works, she refused to show her abstract paintings during her lifetime. In her will, she stipulated that these groundbreaking works must not be shown publicly until 20 years after her death. She was convinced that only then would the world be ready to understand their significance. Moderna Museets retrospective exhibition presents Hilma af Klints most important abstract works, as well as paintings and works on paper that have never before been presented publicly, enhancing our understanding of her oeuvre. Her extensive diaries and notebooks have been included in the research for this exhibition, which comprises paintings and works on paper and will tour internationally in 2013-2015. Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation together with Moderna Museet is arranging this two-day meeting in order to create an opportunity for discussing the artist Hilma af Klint and her work. The seminar is a part of the Foundations ongoing effort to further the disseminations of scholarly knowledge.
Curator: Iris Mller-Westermann Assistant Curator: Jo Widoff The exhibition will tour to: Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum fr Gegenwart, Berlin 15 June-6 October 2013 Museo Picasso Mlaga, Mlaga 21 October 2013-9 February 2014

Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction

Friday 15th of February

6 PM From 7:30 PM PREVIEW of the exhibition by Iris Mller-Westermann DRINKS and DINNER at Restaurant Hjerta, Skeppsholmen DINNER TALK by Daniel Birnbaum

Saturday 16th of February

10 AM 10:30 AM 12:50 PM 1 PM 2 PM 2:05 PM 2:10 PM 2:30 PM Departure by bus from Hotel Skeppsholmen Departure by bus from Jakobsbergsgatan 2 ARRIVAL at Engelsberg LUNCH at Engelsberg Manor Welcome Introduction A Pioneer in Seclusion Routes/Roots to Abstraction Hilma af Klint and Botany Kurt Almqvist Mark Isitt, moderator Iris Mller-Westermann David Lomas

2:50 PM

Discussion together with panel members: R. H. Quaytman and Briony Fer COFFEE and TEA BREAK Open Boundaries of Art and the Search for the True Religion in the Work of Hilma af Klint Ultravision. Abstraction, Mediumism and Analogies Discussion together with panel members: Raphael Rosenberg and Marco Pasi Closing remarks BREAK DRINKS and DINNER at Engelsberg Manor Daniel Birnbaum Helmut Zander

3:20 PM 3:50 PM

4:10 PM 4:30 PM

Pascal Rousseau

5 PM 5:10-6:15 PM 6:15 PM

Sunday 17th of February


Hilma af Klint. The Seven- Pointed Star, No. 2, Group V, The WUS/Seven-Pointed Star Series, 1908 Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Moderna Museet/Albin Dahlstrm Tempera, gouache and graphite on paper mounted on canvas, 75.5 62 cm, HAK049

Hilma af Klint. The Ten Largest, No. 3, Youth, Group IV, 1907 Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Moderna Museet/Albin Dahlstrm Tempera on paper mounted on canvas, 321 240 cm, HAK104

Hilma af Klint. The Swan, No. 18, Group IX/SUW, The SUW/UW Series, 1915 Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Moderna Museet/Albin Dahlstrm Oil on canvas, 150.5 151 cm, HAK165

Hilma af Klint. No. 3c. The Mohammedan Standpoint, Series II, 1920 Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk. Photo: Moderna Museet/Albin Dahlstrm Oil on canvas, 36.5 27 cm, HAK473

Lecturers and Panel Members

Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction

Kurt Almqvist

Kurt Almqvist is President of Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson foundation for public benefit (since 1999). He is also founder, publisher and CEO of Axess Magazine (since 2002) and CEO of Axess Television (since 2006) which is part of the Foundations program Forum Axess, which was started in 1999 as well as Editor of The Engelsberg Seminars and books.

Daniel Birnbaum

Daniel Birnbaum has been the Director of Moderna Museet since autumn 2010. Between the years 2000-2010 he was the rector of Stdelschule in Frankfurt and director of the Kunsthalle Portikus. He is contributing editor of Artforum in New York and has curated a number of large exhibitions, including Airs de Paris at Centre Pompidou in Paris (in co-operation with Christine Macel) in 2007. He was the Director of the 2009 Venice Biennale.

Briony Fer

Briony Fer is Professor of History of Art. She graduated from Sussex University with BA Hons in History of Art (major) with French (minor) in 1979. She then went on to the Department of History of History and Theory of Art at Essex University where her doctoral research on the Russian and French avant-gardes was supervised by Professor Dawn Ades and Professor Michael Podro. She was awarded her PhD in 1988. In 1980 she joined the History of Art Department at the Open University as a Lecturer working on groundbreaking courses there and publishing essays in the Modernity and Modernism textbooks, published jointly by the Open University and Yale University Press in 1993. She joined University College in 1990 and was made a Reader in 1997 and Professor in 2005. She has published extensively on 20th century and contemporary art. Key publications include her books On Abstract Art (2000) and The Infinite Line (2004), both published by Yale University Press. She has written on many contemporary artists, including Gabriel Orozco, Roni Horn, Vija Celmins, Ed Ruscha, Rachel Whiteread and David Batchelor. Much of her research has focused on the work of the American sculptor Eva Hesse, writing for the 2002 retrospective of the artist curated by Elisabeth Sussman at SFMOMA in 2002. Her major monograph Eva Hesse Studiowork (2010) was published to coincide with the international exhibition originated at the Fruitmarket Gallery Edinburgh that she co-curated with Barry Rosen.

David Lomas

David Lomas is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester. He directs the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and Its Legacies. His publications on Surrealism include The Haunted Self (2000) and Simulating the Marvellous (2012). He cocurated the exhibitions Subversive Spaces (2009) and Narcissus Reflected (2011). The entwinement of botany and sexuality in Surrealist and Contemporary Art is the subject of a new monograph.

Iris Mller-Westermann

Iris Mller-Westermann is Curator of International Art at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Her doctoral thesis dealt with Edvard Munch. Her publications focus on twentiethand twenty-first-century art in conjunction with exhibitions she has organized, including Lee Lozano (2010), Max Ernst: Dream and Revolution (2008), Munch by Himself (2005), Rosemarie Trockel (2001), In the Power of Painting (2000), and After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe (in collaboration with David Elliott and Bojana Peji, 1999).

Marco Pasi

Marco Pasi is Associate Professor in the History of Hermetic Philosophy and related currents at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). He has written extensively on the history of modern Western esotericism, especially inrelation to magic, art, and politics. He is the author of Aleister Crowley e la tentazione della politica (1999), translated into several languages, has edited Peintures inconnues dAleister Crowley: La collection de Palerme (2008), and co-edited Kabbalah and Modernity: Interpretations, Transformations, Adaptations (2010). He is the editor in chief of the Aries Book Series, published by Brill.

R. H. Quaytman

R. H. Quaytman is a painter living in New York City. R. H. Quaytman received a B.A. in painting from Bard College. In 1989 Quaytman was invited to the Institut Hautes Etudes en Arts Plastiques, Paris, France to study with Daniel Buren and Pontus Hultn. Quaytman also organized the show Secret Pictures of Hilma af Klint at the P.S. 1 Museum in 1989. Quaytman was also a recipient of the Rome Prize Fellowship in 1992. Quaytman was a founding member and the Director of a cooperative gallery in Manhattans Lower East Side called Orchard. The work of R. H. Quaytman is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery.

Raphael Rosenberg

Raphael Rosenberg was born in Milan (1962). He was Professor for Early Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Heidelberg and is currently the director of the Art History Department at the University of Vienna. He was a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin, Guest Professor at the Collge de France (Paris) and is a Full Member of the Heidelberger Academy of Sciences. His main areas of research are the history and psychophysiology of art reception and the early history of abstract art. He was the curator of the exhibition Turner - Hugo - Moreau: The Discovery of Abstraction (Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, 2007).

Pascal Rousseau

Pascal Rousseau is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the Universit de Paris I Panthon-Sorbonne. He organized the exhibitions Fabrice Hyber: PasteurSpirit at the Institute Pasteur in Paris (2010), Sous influence: Rsurgences de lhypnose dans lart contemporain at the Muse cantonal des Beaux-Art de Lausanne (2006), and Aux origins de labstraction: 1800-1914 at the Muse dOrsay, Paris (2003).

Helmut Zander

Helmut Zander has been Professor of Religious Studies in the Faculty for Catholic Theology at the Universit de Fribourg since 2011. He is currently working on the characteristics of the development of religion in Europe from a comparative perspective. A further major research focus is the history of Western esotericism, in particular anthroposophy in Germany.

Mark Isitt

Mark Isitt is a Swedish journalist who has been writing about architecture and design since the late 80s. His work has been published in both Swedish and international magazines and as a former editor-in-chief and publisher for Forum AID (1999-2007) he now writes for the daily newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Gteborgs-Posten. In 2011, Mark released his book White Green ten projects in the great outdoors by White arkitekter.

List of Participants
Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction

President Kurt Almqvist, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden Chairman Viveca Ax:son Johnson, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden Senior Curator Tracey Bashkoff, Guggenheim Museum, USA Dr. Tessel Bauduin, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands Dr. Marty Bax, Bax Art Concepts & Services, The Netherlands International Advisor Louise Belfrage, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden Director Daniel Birnbaum, Moderna Museet, Sweden Ms. Lia Boysen, Sweden Ms. Anna Brodow, Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden Professor Lynne Cooke, CASVA, National Gallery of Art, USA Ms. Adlin Domingo, USA Jungian Analyst IAAP Kim Oldfelt Ekus, Sweden Doctoral Research Fellow Per Faxneld, Univeristy of Stockholm, Sweden Professor Briony Fer, University College London, UK Dr. Victoria Ferentinou, University of Ioannina, Greece Mr. Thomas Gr, Axess TV, Sweden Mr. Anders Haag, Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden Director Tone Hansen, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway Editor Jennifer Higgie, Frieze Magazine, UK Professor, Dr. Georg Imdahl, Sddeutsche Zeitung, Germany Mr. Mark Isitt, Sweden Professor Branden Joseph, Columbia University, USA Dr. Petra Kipphoff, Die Zeit, Germany Mr. Johan af Klint, Sweden Dr. Gabriele Knapstein, Hamburg Bahnhof Museum fr Gegenwart, Germany PhD. Lars Bang Larsen, Dokumenta, Denmark Mr. Janerik Larsson, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden Mr. Holger Liebs, Monopol Magazin, Germany Mrs. Ingela Lind, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden Professor David Lomas, University of Manchester, UK Mr. Peter Luthersson, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden

Dr. Curator Iris Mller-Westermann, Moderna Museet, Sweden Dr. Kjell A Nordstrm, Ax:son Johnson Foundation, Sweden Deputy Director Ann-Sofi Noring, Moderna Museet, Sweden Dr. Marco Pasi, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands Senior Editor Prudence Peiffer, Artforum, USA Director Agustn Prez-Rubio, MUSAC, Spain Ms. Agneta Pleijel, Sweden Mr. Clemens Poellinger, Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden Ms. R. H. Quaytman, Artist, USA Ms. Natalia Rachlin, NOWNESS / IHT, UK Ms. Synne Rifbjerg, Weekendavisen, Denmark Professor Dr. Raphael Rosenberg, University of Vienna, Austria Professor Pascal Rousseau, Universit de Paris I Panthon-Sorbonne, France Ms. Birgitta Rubin, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden Director Beatrix Ruf, Kunsthalle Zrich, Switzerland Dr. Margriet Schavemarker, Collections and Research, Stedelijk Museum, The Netherlands Ms. Maria Schottenius, Dagens Nyheter, Sweden Artistic Director Jos Lebrero Stals, Museo Picasso Mlaga, Spain CEO Michael Storkers, Bukowskis Group, Sweden Dr. Kerstin Stremmel, Neue Zrcher Zeitung Feuilleton, Germany Mr. Olle Svenning, Sweden Associate Professor Jayne Svenungsson, Stockholm School of Theology, Sweden Mr. Karsten Thurfjell, Swedish Radio, Sweden Ms. Jenny Teleman, Swedish Radio, Sweden Senior Curator Emeritus Maurice Tuchman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA Director Poul Erik Tjner, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark Mr. Alex Vicente, El Pas, France Dr. Julia Voss, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany Mr. Ulf Wagner, Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints verk, Sweden Assistant Curator Jo Widoff, Moderna Museet, Sweden Professor, Dr. Helmut Zander, Universit de Fribourg, Switzerland

Hilma af Klint - A Pioneer of Abstraction

President: Kurt Almqvist Project Manager: Louise Belfrage Project Coordinators: Alexander Nyquist and Rebecka Sharfstein Staff: Andreas Braw, Didi Cederstrm, Karin Fredriksson, Sophia Granswed, Andreas lander Gr, Siv Hk, Inger Israelsson, Erik Ringdahl and Anna kerblad Cuisine: Restaurant Hjerta and Rolfs kk Music: Romeo & Julia Kren

Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation Stureplan 3, 103 75 Stockholm, Sweden Telephone: +46 (0) 8 788 50 50 Fax: +46 (0) 8 788 50 60