New Documentary Examines Hilma af Klint’s Overlooked Influence as a Female Abstract Artist

By Sara Barnes on April 28, 2020

Photo: Zeitgeist Films

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944) was ahead of her time. In 1906, she began creating abstract art before there was a name for it. But as with many women in art history, her groundbreaking work is only now getting the recognition it deserves—alongside male artists who have long had the honor including Wassily KandinskyPaul Klee, and Josef Albers. A new documentary titled Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint offers a “course correcting” that examines, among other things, her colorful, bold shapes on their giant canvases.

Director Halina Dryschka had the idea for Beyond the Visible after discovering Klint’s work in 2013. On a “quite normal Sunday,” she read a newspaper article that introduced her to Klint’s paintings and later saw an awe-inspiring exhibition of her work in Berlin. “But why have they been kept from me for so long?,” she recalled thinking. “I almost felt personally insulted when I read that this was a new discovery and the paintings have been hidden for decades. Could that be true? Paintings in this size are hard to hide. And who would be interested in marginalizing this artist’s accomplishments? And why?”

It was then that Dryschka began researching Klint. What she discovered was a woman who made her own way. “A strong character and despite all restrictions,” Dryschka says, “Klint explored the possibilities that go beyond the visible. She knew that she was doing something important not only for herself but for many people.”

The documentary features interviews from Klint’s relatives, historians, artists, critics, and more. In examining her life and the impact of her work, Dryschka offers a nuanced look at her legacy. “Klint’s oeuvre goes even beyond art because she was looking for the whole picture of life. And with that, she comes close to the one question: What are we doing here?”

Stream Beyond the Visible by visiting the Zeitgeist Films website.

The Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint documentary gives a careful examination of the Swedish artist’s ground-breaking paintings.

Best Documentary About Artists

Photo: Zeitgeist Films

Hilma af Klint Painting

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

Photo: Zeitgeist Films

Hilma af Klint Painting

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

Photo: Zeitgeist Films

Best Documentary About Artists

Photo: Zeitgeist FilmsBest Documentary About Artists

Photo: Zeitgeist Films

Watch the trailer for the film below:

Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint Film: Website

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Zeitgeist Films.

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Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled ‘Embroidered Life’ that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.Read all posts from Sara Barnes

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