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  • SUSAN CIANCIOLO: It goes beyond the visual.

  • She was courageous in so many ways.

  • JOSIAH McELHENY: What's astounding is her bravery.

  • There was nothing being made like this in the whole world.

  • TRACEY BASHKOFF: The leap into full, nonobjective abstraction

  • that just turned things on its head.

  • NARRATOR: At the turn of the 20th Century,

  • the world was on the brink of dramatic change.

  • Political, scientific, and cultural

  • evolution fundamentally changed reality.

  • Art was changing too.

  • Painters like Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian

  • began to replace perceived reality with signs,

  • natural color with symbolic color,

  • representation with abstraction.

  • A new expressive form emerged.

  • In 1944, as war again raged in Europe,

  • these two icons of abstract art died

  • their legacy secured.

  • But that very same year, another artist passed

  • one whose work was yet unknown to the public,

  • a female artist who worked to make the invisible visible.

  • Who was she?

  • Hilma af Klint: an artist for the future.

  • In a career spanning six decades,

  • Hilma af Klint produced hundreds of paintings

  • and thousands of pages of writings and notes

  • that are as confounding as they are revelatory.

  • But she may have left the world

  • with more questions than she did answers.

  • BASHKOFF: Hilma af Klint's abstract work predates

  • the work by artists that we have

  • long considered the pioneers of abstraction.

  • Af Klint, working apart from those artists,

  • just doesn't fit into our story.

  • NARRATOR: Born in Sweden in 1862,

  • af Klint was among the earliest women to study

  • at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm.

  • She painted botanical studies, landscape paintings

  • here's a self-portrait.

  • But her experience with spiritualism and the science of the day

  • sparked her interest in new ideas.

  • CHRISTINE BURGIN: Whether it's Christian, Rosicrucian, Theosophical,

  • she explored many different spiritual realms.

  • NARRATOR: Af Klint began to conductance sessions

  • with a group of likeminded women.

  • They called themselvesThe Five.”

  • Here's the table they met at. Here's an altar they built.

  • Together they would communicate with spirits as mediums.

  • The guides they encountered would send them messages,

  • which eventually took the shape of art.

  • One of theseance sessions proved to be fateful.

  • In 1906 a spiritual guide commissioned af Klint

  • to prepare an artistic message for humankind.

  • From January to November of that year,

  • she did just that, in secret.

  • BASHKOFF: This commission that she receives

  • becomes really her life work.

  • NARRATOR: In the period between 1906 and 1915,

  • af Klint produced 193 paintings that attempted

  • to represent the spirit of the world.

  • BURGIN: She had complete and total

  • faith that it contained meaning and meaning

  • that was essential to how the universe is put together.

  • NARRATOR: A mystical, idiosyncratic geometry emerged.

  • CIANCIOLO: They look like sacred geometric languages.

  • So, it's living, It's a living being, her work.

  • NARRATOR: Colors took on gender roles:

  • blue, female; yellow: male;

  • green, the unity of the two.

  • Forms began to interlock or even come into collision,

  • like this series of swans.

  • Botanical studies stood beside watercolors

  • of the energy of those plants.

  • Words and letters, sometimes indecipherable,

  • populated the frame.

  • Af Klint charted and codified these images and her

  • philosophy in an expansive series of notebooks.

  • BURGIN: It's beautiful, I mean

  • it's poems what she's writing.

  • McELHENY: She was creating

  • a kind of library of ideas.

  • NARRATOR: “The Ten Largestare among

  • her earliest abstract paintings

  • and some of the first ever made.

  • BASHKOFF: The scale ofThe Ten Largest

  • is really remarkable.

  • McELHENY: These gigantic, beautiful, bright, bright pink images.

  • BASHKOFF: The subject is just as monumental

  • as the paintings themselves.

  • The ten paintings go through the life-span of humans,

  • from birth to old age.

  • McELHENY: And it's suddenly like

  • the world might be different.

  • NARRATOR: Af Klint rarely exhibited this work,

  • keeping these paintings and hundreds like them

  • from public view for her entire life.

  • She even stipulated that her works

  • not be shown for twenty years after her death.

  • Why af Klint withheld much of her work

  • from contemporary criticism remains a mystery.

  • Was the public simply not ready?

  • Did she break too much ground?

  • CIANCIOLO: I wish that I could ask her myself.

  • BURGIN: I don't think she wants it to be clear.

  • It's a journey. It's for you to figure out.

  • It's more complicated than that.

  • McELHENY: There's something so powerful in Hilma's work.

  • It's really wonderful that she allowed us

  • to save the message until now.

  • BASHKOFF: She was looking to the future for

  • a time when there would be a viewer who

  • would understand the messages that she felt

  • she was putting out in these paintings.

  • NARRATOR: Ideas always expanded beyond

  • the edge of the canvas for af Klint.

  • The spiral, an ever-occurring motif across her paintings,

  • extended to her plans for the works' eventual exhibition.

  • She made sketches for a circular building

  • to house her paintings, where viewers would

  • take in the work as they ascended

  • a spiral staircase towards the heavens.

SUSAN CIANCIOLO: It goes beyond the visual.

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Hilma af Klint

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    Knight に公開 2021 年 10 月 01 日
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