We take a look at what is being said about this exhibition exploring the work of both artists, on display at Tate Modern until the 3rd September.

Left: Hilma af Klint, The Ten Largest, Group IV, No. 7, Adulthood, 1907 and right: Piet Mondrian, Composition with red, black, yellow, blue and grey, 1921. Photograph: Courtesy of The Hilma af Klint Foundation/Kunstmuseum Den Haag

The Observer: **** “What she shares with Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), master of the grid, is more than just a fascination with spiritualism (he too was drawn to mystical theosophy). It is rather, to quote the curators’ premise, that each is developing the possibilities of abstract painting. Visitors to this show, which is profoundly considered and often exceptionally beautiful, will have to make up their own minds about what seems to me a controversial comparison. But the experience opens at least with convergence.”

Evening Standard: **** “In discussing this show, some have questioned why we need to pitch together a woman artist who has only recently emerged from unwarranted obscurity with a much-vaunted, canonic male painter. But this show feels like the curators are pulling Mondrian out of the modernist comfort zone and into Af Klint’s esoteric territory, rather than the other way round”

The Arts Desk: ***** ” This fascinating show is a delight and a revelation, because it declares the spiritualist underpinnings of modernism which many, until now, have sought to hide.”

iNews: “So much about this show is fascinating, but boy does the Tate have a knack for knocking the fun out of things sometimes. For a show powered by artists’ interest in the wonders and energies of the unseen world, Forms of Life often feels dour. The scale of these galleries doesn’t help – shown in the smaller rooms of the Kunstmuseum in The Hague, Mondrian’s paintings really command the space, making the light around them shimmer. There’s some great work here: seeing af Klint’s Ten Largest in person will be treat enough for many, and Mondrian’s ghostly experimental flower paintings were a revelation. I would have loved to see this all addressed with a little more playfulness.”

The Upcoming: **** “Af Klint said that she worked with several spirit guides to produce her oeuvre and, kooky as it sounds, some of the pieces do appear to predict the future. She stipulated that her work should not be displayed until 20 years after her death, as the public was not ready for it. It’s taken considerably longer than that, but she is now getting recognition for her singular vision. The slightly eccentric pairing with Mondrian is used as a way of drawing out af Klint’s creative gravitas by aligning her with a familiar, respected artist. Ambitious, enigmatic and visionary, would she have predicted this show? Quite possibly.”

Culture Whisper: *** “There are great works from both artists in this show but the nagging thought throughout is why pair the two together. It’s natural to create an artist pairing when trying to show a new angle to artists whose works have been shown a lot, but Af Klint’s works have only recently been gaining traction and it’s been an age since a major Mondrian exhibition in London. Giving both artists their own solo presentations would have been more fitting in allowing them to shine individually, rather than shoe-horning them together into an exhibition that can’t fully do justice to both artists.”

The Independent: **** “The Tate’s show is a fascinating pairing, but it feels like Af Klint’s moment in the sun is beginning.”

Time Out: *** “There’s plenty to like and love by both artists here. But Hilma deserves to be celebrated on her own terms, not viewed through the prism of Mondrian. And Piet, well, who would say no to a whole exhibition of his work. This could, and should, have just been two different exhibitions. Oneness isn’t always a good thing.”

The Telegraph: **** “Tate Modern’s Forms of Life show draws fascinating parallels between one modernist you probably know, and one you almost certainly don’t.”

To find out more about the exhibition visit: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/hilma-af-klint-piet-mondrian


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