Purple Art

[November 16 2021]

“Tree of Knowledge,” an exhibition by Hilma af Klint at David Zwirner, New York

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint has come to be recognized as one of the most important and inventive artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition displays the namesake series; a rare set of 8 watercolors that the artist produced between 1913 and 1915. Af Klint was profoundly interested in spiritual movements and philosophies, including the then emergent teachings of Theosophy and Anthroposophy as well as Buddhism and Rosicrucianism, among others. She became actively involved in examining the mysteries of the supernatural world, and her interest in visualizing the invisible forces beyond the physical realm led her to explore and represent spiritualist ideas and sentiments in her art. Af Klint showed her work to very few people during her lifetime, believing that society was not ready to understand the nature of her art and that it should be left to future generations. These complex, dynamic compositions mix biblical references to Genesis with esoteric iconography and vivid colors and motifs. The undulous, organic forms recall the stylings of art nouveau with an almost taxonomic attention to detail, resulting in fully formed visual allegories about the circle of life and death, darkness and light, spirit and matter, and being and becoming.

On view now until December 18 2021 at David Zwirner
34 East 69th Street, New York

Photos by Ava Perman

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