2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Haunted Hands: The Automatic Drawings of Hilma af Klint

Kalven D. Duncan
Dr. Sara Orel and Dr. Heidi Cook, Faculty Mentors

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) has garnered a lot of attention lately for being the “first” abstract artist as well as a historical anomaly. Many articles and exhibitions, such as 3x Abstraction at the Drawing Center, and curator of Moderna Museet Daniel Birnbaum, tout her as a pioneer, way ahead of her own time period. Af Klint developed an abstract body of work through her involvement with modern occult religions, which arose as reactions to rationalism and other modern movements in Western cultures. Rather than studying af Klint as a mould-breaker, or as a contemporary artist due to her works not being viewed for over forty years after her death, I argue taking her and her work out of these contexts would only do her work a disservice. In this presentation, I will explore the Spiritualist roots of af Klint’s early artistic production and automatic drawings.

Keywords: Spiritualism , Modern Art, Abstract Art, Gender Theory, Hilma af Klint, Swedish Art, European History , Occult Studies

Topic(s):Art - Art History

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 109-3
Location: MC 210
Time: 9:00

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