“The web of meaning unravels, and a new one is spun in its place”
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
-Yuval Noah Harari
By Leda Scully, Visitor Engagement Team, IMMA.
‘But no, she’s abstract, is a
Of sound in the air of air
And her soul sings
Because the song’s what
makes her sing.’
At the time of her death, the Swedish artist and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862 – 1944) left behind a body of work comprising 1,200 paintings, numerous sketchbooks and 26,000 pages of journals. She stipulated in her will that the work should not be seen for twenty years after her death, but in fact it was forty-two years before it was exhibited for the first time, in the 1986 show ‘The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985,’ curated by Maurice Tuchman in L.A . Record numbers attended that show and audiences were reportedly stunned by this unheard-of Swedish painter whose work had remained unseen for so long, and who, it transpired, may have painted the first ever abstract paintings in Western art – quite a few years before Kandinsky.
Looking at the return to figuration in contemporary art practice, Altfest is one of several artists invited to respond on the affinities, methodologies and potential influences that contemporary artists continue to share with Freud. In conjunction with Altfest’s memorable Artist’s Talk at IMMA in June, we invite the artist to write a blog on her distinctive approach to working with life models, the rhythms and intensity of studio life and reflect on the interchanges between desire and detachment, in striking a balanced when working with her subjects.
I was invited by IMMA to respond to their exhibition, As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics, and to work with Alice Butler and Daniel Fitzpatrick of AEMI to develop a screening for the IFI in conjunction with IMMA’s Talks and Public Programmes. The resulting programme – Out of Body – features films by Maya Deren, Mairéad McClean, Jordan Baseman, Paul Sharits, and John Smith, alongside a selection of my own work. These films consider the psychic and physical spaces of body and landscape; they explore automatic, subliminal and unconscious states of mind. Multiple viewpoints, strobing, and repetition draw attention to our perceptual senses, and to the very act of looking, and of being observed. Out of Body took place at the IFI on Tuesday 25 July 2017 and you can listen back to the introduction and discussion here.
View of Rosc ’67 showing paintings by Lichtenstein and Picasso, Anne Crookshank.
Rosc, which means ‘poetry of vision,’ was a series of exhibitions of international art that took place approximately every four years between 1967 and 1988.