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Monday, March 20, 2006

Out of This World

Before she died, at the age of 81 in 1944, the Swedish artist Hilma af Klint stipulated that her paintings were not to be shown in public for 20 years after her death. Perhaps she felt that the world was not yet ready for them. In some respects, the world never will be ready for the occult symbolism and spiritualist gibberish that her work was derived from, and from which she gained her inspiration.

Although the same peculiar beliefs attend the work of pioneering artists such as Mondrian, Kandinsky and Malevich, they never suggested, as did Af Klint, that their work was guided by an imaginary "leader in the spiritual world". For Af Klint, this was a certain Ananda, who in 1904 told her "she was to execute paintings on the astral plane".

By all accounts, Af Klint was a sober, well-balanced woman. Her art and beliefs, however, were extreme. Regarded as a clairvoyant from childhood, she was a medium and one of Sweden's first followers of the theosophical teachings of Madame Blavatsky, and later of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophic movement. Full Story

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