Hilma af Klint
Explore the Infinity
The turn of the 20th century marked a period of explosive advancements in technology, science, culture, and society, ultimately revealing a completely new facet of the world.
Scientifically, pioneering theories like Darwin's theory of evolution, Einstein's theory of relativity, and quantum mechanics emerged, challenging humanity's comprehension of the natural world and the cosmos. The creation of revolutionary technologies, including electricity, automobiles, airplanes, telephones, and television, enabled people to communicate, travel, and access information with unprecedented ease. Western art experienced a radical shift from its conventional focus on perspective and realism, giving rise to various schools of thought and the emergence of art movements like Impressionism and Expressionism. Meanwhile, in society, women's consciousness began to stir, with women gradually participating in social and political life and becoming an integral part of the social movement.
Imagine yourself transported back a hundred years to a world in the midst of rapid change. Would you, like Swedish artist Hilma af Klint, born in 1862, have the same questions? What is the true logic behind the world? What is the relationship between spirit, soul, consciousness, and the real world? What is the purpose and worth of humanity in this continually evolving world?
With these questions in mind, let's explore how Hilma af Klint used art to find her own answers.
Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) was a Swedish artist who is now recognized as one of the pioneers of abstract art. Although she was active during the early 20th century, her abstract paintings were not exhibited until the 1980s, when they were finally revealed to the public.
What sets Hilma af Klint's paintings apart is her ingenious use of abstract forms and symbols that were influenced by her interest in spiritualism, theosophy, and science. She firmly believed that art had the power to reveal hidden dimensions of reality and to establish a connection with the spiritual realm.
In her work, Hilma af Klint often used geometric shapes, such as circles, triangles, and spirals, as well as symbols and texts, to create a visual language that conveyed her ideas. Her art is not only remarkable for its innovative approach to abstraction, but also for its spiritual and philosophical depth.
Today, Hilma af Klint is recognized as an important figure in the history of abstract art, and her paintings continue to inspire artists and audiences alike.
Women's Power Through af Klint's Life
In the times when af Klint lived, women's rights were still disregarded and overlooked. Women artists faced significant discrimination in the art world.
Despite this reality, af Klint became an artist with a strong feminist consciousness. She was fortunate enough to receive an education that was equal to that of men, thanks to her family's support. Additionally, theosophy guided her exploration of the spiritual world, which was initiated and led by women. Later, af Klint and four other women formed "The Five" group and shared an interest in spiritualism.
Af Klint formed deep friendships with many women. Collaborating with Anna on anatomical drawings of horses and working with author Ottilia Adelborg to illustrate children's books provided her financial support and influenced her future artistic style, several women continued to participate in creating and documenting The Paintings for the Temple throughout af Klint's life. Ultimately, it was the support of these powerful women that allowed af Klint to fearlessly pursue her ideals and become a great artist.
"Over and over again, she broke every rule society set for her—as an art student at the Royal Academy in Stockholm, as a woman at the turn of the twentieth century, and as a modern artist." - Julia Voss
Selected Art and Exhibits
This section will use the theme of female power to tell the story of Hilma af Klint's life.
Inspire from Nature
Af Klint began her artistic journey by drawing botanical illustrations which were inspired by the work of the renowned botanist Carl von Linné. As time passed, she became increasingly interested in biology and cytology, which prompted her to conduct research on these subjects. Her artistic career took a new direction when she began creating abstract works, which allowed her to develop her own interpretation and deduction of known scientific theories.
Af Klint incorporated natural elements such as plants, minerals, and animals into her paintings, which not only brought vitality and energy to her works but also expressed the connection between nature and spirituality. In her early works, her style was influenced by the geometric shapes and patterns found in nature. In her later works, her art became more abstract, and her inspiration came from the forms and colors found in nature, reflecting her deep observation and understanding of nature. Through her art, she aimed to express her belief in the interconnectedness of all living things, and her work served as a bridge between the scientific and the spiritual realms.
Instead of séances or spiritual gatherings, nature was key—immersion in nature was the first step in freeing oneself from merely physical existence, the first step in transforming matter into spirit.
- Julia Voss
Selected Art and Exhibits
Early Natural Drawing
Tree of Knowledge
Flowers, Mosses, and Lichens
Science meet Art
For a significant period in Western art history, the portrayal of representational subjects dominated the scene. Art in the Western world was rooted in the logic of perspective, with religion and everyday life as common themes. Af Klint's innovation lies in introducing science into art, making abstract concepts in science and technology visible. During a time of constant scientific debate, af Klint developed her own theories based on the information of the time. In an age where only a fragment of science has been explored, af Klint was exploring the unknown territory of the soul, spirit, and mind.
Hilma af Klint not only sought to convey scientific concepts through the medium of art but also approached the creation and documentation of her works with rigor and precision that mirrored the scientific method. Af Klint approached art with a rigorous scientific attitude, meticulously organizing her work with a systematic approach. For af Klint, art was more of a tool for understanding spirituality through scientific methods.
Selected Art and Exhibits
This Section includes 2 parts:
1. How af Klint got inspired by the advanced science concept at her time.
2. How did af Klint develop her abstract art language through a scientific approach
The Seven Points of Star
Hilma "AI" Klint
When af Klint faced a period of booming science, just as we are now facing the impact of AI, she responded by accepting some and continuing to explore. Her contribution to art was creating a new visual expression and using her painting method to elaborate on her understanding of science.
AI enables us to combine art and technology, creating new possibilities for the imagination. However, whether AI-generated art is a good or bad combination of art and technology arises. How should we approach current AI technology? Should we accept and embrace it or fear and resist it? Is AI art a new visual language? These are questions that contemporary artists, scientists, and users should all consider. Perhaps exploring art and exploring the universe is equally pursuing infinity