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Art Documentary History

A New Hilma af Klint Documentary Explores the Abstract Artist’s Historical Legacy

April 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Kino Lorber

An effort to rewrite art historical timelines predominately shaped around men, a new documentary spotlights inventive Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint considers her colorful, abstract artworks that predate those of widely recognized male artists, like Vasily KandinskyKazimir MalevichPiet Mondrian, Paul Klee, and Josef Albers. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the corrective documentary follows the Guggenheim’s 2018 retrospective of the artist’s spiritual work that since has secured af Klint’s position as a pioneer of 20th-century art.

Dyrschka discovered the revolutionary artist’s work in 2013, quickly realizing that “here was a woman who consequently followed her own path in life that led to a unique oeuvre. A strong character and despite all restrictions Hilma af Klint explored the possibilities that go beyond the visible.” In addition to art history’s tendency to ignore women, the artist’s groundbreaking projects have been absent from historical discourse in part because she asked that her work not be shown until 20 years after her death.

Having interviewed af Klint’s relatives, historians, artists, and critics for the documentary, the German director is hoping to offer a comprehensive and amended version of af Klint’s legacy that transcends her bold paintings. Her “oeuvre goes even beyond art because she was looking for the whole picture of life,” Dyrschka said. “And with that she comes close to the one question: What are we doing here?”

Beyond the Visible will be available for streaming starting April 17. (via Artnet)

“Altarpiece No. 1” (1915), Altarpieces: Group X

“The Dove No. 2” (1914-1915), from Group IX

 

 



Animation

Geometric Volumes and Humanoid Figures Shape-Shift in a New Animation by Guldies

December 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Malleable sculptures formed from plasticine topple, bounce, and shape-shift between geometric volumes and humanoid figures in UTOPIA, a new stop motion animation. The minimalist short film is set on a plain aqua-toned background with a restricted clay color palette of white, pink, orange, and burgundy. UTOPIA’s tightly controlled aesthetic centers the viewer’s attention on the fast-moving shapes as they transform and interact with each other. The short was created by Alexander Unger, a Swedish animator who goes by Guldies (previously). Watch more animations from Unger on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Muralist Elian Chali Envelopes Building Facades in Enormous Abstract Fields of Color

November 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Argentinian artist Elian Chali, who goes by just his first name professionally, creates vibrant murals that balance a simple aesthetic with carefully calculated designs. Elian often incorporates anamorphic shapes into his murals, placing squiggles and squares at the corners of buildings, creating the illusion of floating patterns. Clean lines and flat color fields almost seem to be rendered digitally rather than laboriously hand-painted across hundreds or even thousands of square feet. In addition to his mural projects, the self-taught artist creates smaller gallery-ready paintings and prints, and also works as a freelance curator. Follow along with Elian’s latest projects on Instagram. (via Street Art News)

 

 



Design

Hand-Painted Wood Offcuts Form Colorful Dovetailed Chairs and Benches by Donna Wilson

October 4, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Textile designer Donna Wilson’s newest body of work is a collection of colorful chairs and benches called Abstract Assembly. The designer, who you may be familiar with through her quirky plush characters like Rita Radish and Lenny Leopard, debuted her new venture into hard goods at this year’s London Design Festival.

The vibrant, multi-part chair backs are translated from Wilson’s watercolor paintings and use offcuts of oak, beech, and Douglas fir wood. Each design is a limited edition of ten. All components are hand-painted by Wilson and then dovetailed together (she partnered with Jon Almond on production). Design Milk quoted Wilson’s creative exploration that sparked the Abstract Assembly collection:

A year ago I embarked on a new direction with the main purpose to satisfy my creativity. I finally managed to stand back from what I was doing with my company and see what I needed to do. With no idea where it would take me, I started drawing and painting in the evenings. The next step was for me to bring these abstract doodle to life and start working in wood, I wanted to make hand-assembled pieces using traditional carpentry techniques and luckily my partner Jon was able to help me develop these pieces into a collection of chairs and mirrors.

See more from the Scottish designer on her website, where you can pick up a chair of your own, or peruse the wide array of Wilson’s fabric-based designs. You can also follow the company on Instagram and Twitter. (thnx, Kate!)

 

 



Art

Trompe l’oeil Paintings of Brushstrokes Form Abstract Portraits by Teppei Takeda

September 18, 2019

Johnny Waldman

Japanese artist Teppei Takeda uses the trompe l’oeil technique to recreate the act of painting in the form of abstract portraits. The completed paintings are anonymous, rather than of a specific person, and are meticulously put together through highly detailed paintings of gestural strokes.

Takeda is somewhat of an anomaly. The 41-year old worked for a decade almost exclusively within the confines of his studio in Yamagata, waiting for the right moment when he would unveil his paintings to the world. That day came in the summer of 2016 when Takeda held his first solo exhibition at local gallery Kuguru. Here’s what his current gallerist, Maho Kubota Gallery, had to say about the show:

There was no special advertising or publicity, but the ten portraits that he exhibited had such an impact on viewers that the news soon spread, reaching people who would travel to Yamagata from far away to see his works and collectors hoping to buy.

Teppei Takeda’s current show at Maho Kubota Gallery in Tokyo, titled “Paintings of Paintings,” recently opened and is on view through October 12, 2019. Morioka Shoten, the Ginza bookshop that only carries 1 title per week, is currently selling Takeda’s book of paintings (through 9/15). (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Lush Botanical Forms Translated Into Abstract Embroideries by Helen Wilde

August 28, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

U.K.-based embroidery artist Helen Wilde interprets oceanic landscapes in her three-dimensional hoop embroideries. Using tightly edited color palettes, often featuring teals and natural tones, Wilde layers stitches, knots, twists, and pom-poms. The organic shapes resemble commingled forms of plant life, and are built upon organza or hand-woven fabrics. Wilde’s most recent work was inspired by the tropical modernism of Sri Lanka. You can see more of her botanical embroidery on Instagram and purchase original works in her Etsy store. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 

A Colossal

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Sailing Ship Kite