Paintings for the Future
The truly eerie part of this exhibition is not only that the artist stipulated that the works not be exhibited until 20 years after her death—a strange and fraught request, to say the least—but the temple that she designed was a spiral that rose toward the heavens, which is the exact layout of the Guggenheim. These paintings were tailor-made for this building, and, one is inclined to believe, this building tailor-made for these paintings.
The re-writing of art history aside, the paintings feel at moments like Pink Floyd album art, at other times like the dainty scribbles of a child, and at others like pictographs from an ancient civilization. The artist left behind scores of journals that decoded her symbolism, but the story that surrounds them is so juicy, and the coincidence of the Guggenheim’s architecture resembling her ‘spiritual guide’s’ temple so compelling, that the symbols seem to fall away in the overwhelming awe that these paintings exist at all.
She made them for the future, and the future has arrived.
'Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future' will be on view through April 23, 2019.
Cover image: 'No. 2a, The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas (Nr 2a, Mahatmernas nuvarande ståndpunkt),' 1920 from Series II (Serie II); The Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm.
All images courtesy of the Guggenheim.