press release

Serpentine Galleries presents an exhibition of Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), who is now regarded as a pioneer of abstract art. While her paintings were not seen publicly until 1986, her work from the early 20th century pre-dates the first purely abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich.

The exhibition is co-curated by the Serpentine Galleries in collaboration with Daniel Birnbaum, Director of Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944, Stockholm) began training as an artist in Stockholm in the 1880s, studying at the Technical School before attending the Royal Academy of Fine Arts from 1882–7. Upon her death in 1944, she left her estate, comprising of over 1,000 works and 125 notebooks to her nephew, Erik af Klint, stipulating that the works could not be seen for at least 20 years. The first public exhibition of af Klint’s abstract works was in 1986 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which not only placed her within a modernist tradition, but revealed her to be one of the first abstract painters.

The artist has subsequently been exhibited at The Drawing Center, New York (2005–6); Santa Monica Museum of Art (2005–6); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005–6); Camden Arts Centre, London (2006); Bochum Kunstmuseum (2008); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2008); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008); Centre Culturel Suédois, Paris (2008); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2009); Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem (2010); and at the Central Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennial (2013). Her work has also been subject to a major touring exhibition, Hilma af Klint – a Pioneer of Abstraction, which was organised by and shown at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2013, before touring to Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2013); Museo Picasso Málaga (2013–4); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2014); and Henie-Onstad Art Centre, Oslo (2015).