New York (October 12, 2023) – Fotografiska New York today announced that it will present the New York premiere of Hilma af Klint: The Temple, a VR artwork directed by Marika Stolpe at Stolpe Publishing, designed and built by Acute Art, beginning October 23, 2023, to accompany the artist’s seven-volume catalog raissoné, available for purchase at the Museum.
The 12-minute experience is inspired by the visionary paintings of the Swedish artist and abstract art pioneer Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), whose ambition was to house her most important works in a spiritual, spiral-shaped building. The Temple, which was never built, has now been reimagined as a VR artwork that has already drawn rapturous crowds to London’s Tate Modern and the Institut suédois in Paris as well as Bozar in Brussels.
The Temple will be on view at Fotografiska New York, from October 23 to November 19, 2023. The VR experience will take place in Chapel Bar, adjacent to the museum’s lobby, and open for 20 guests per half hour between 11 AM - 4 PM. Viewings will be free with museum admission.
To mark the event, on November 2, Fotografiska New York will host a catalog raisonné book talk featuring the art historian Daniel Birnbaum, director of Acute Art and co-editor of the catalog raissoné, and Tracey Bashkoff, Senior Director of Collections and Senior Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Bashkoff organized the blockbuster exhibition Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future at the Guggenheim in 2018-2019.
“We are delighted to honor Fotografiska’s Swedish roots by bringing the mystical world of Hilma af Klint to New York inside our Chapel Bar,” said Sophie Wright, Executive Director of Fotografiska New York. “The Temple takes its viewers into a spiritual, spiraling temple dedicated to her work and brings her vision to life—a fitting experience to have inside a former Chapel complete with stained glass and circular seating. This pioneering work of art and technology—like the artist’s work—is nothing short of extraordinary.”
Written by Kurt Almqvist and Daniel Birnbaum and directed by Marika Stolpe, The Temple presents 193 of af Klint’s paintings in a format that makes a significant portion of her artistic output available to audiences who have not seen her paintings in person. The work was produced by Acute Art and published by Bokförlaget Stolpe in partnership with the Axel and Margaret Ax:son Johnson Foundation for Public Benefit. The Creative Director is Rodrigo Marques and the music was composed by Andrew Sheriff.
The U.S. premiere of The Temple coincides with the celebration of the complete catalog raissoné. The seven-volume series contains the total production of af Klint, nearly 1,600 works. Once virtually unknown, the artist is now counted among the greatest of modern painters and her works are considered groundbreaking. Almost 80 years after her death, she has redrawn the map of early abstract art, both in Sweden and internationally.
”A catalog raisonné is necessary in order to see the different cycles, motifs, and symbols that recur in such an exciting way. If someone really wants to understand how Hilma af Klint’s works function, they need these books,” says Birnbaum.
Each of the seven volumes corresponds to a specific period of her work, exploring the full spectrum of sketches, portraits, watercolors, landscapes, and more. The first three volumes (Spiritualistic Drawings 1895–1910, The Paintings for the Temple 1906–1915, and The Blue Books) were published in 2020. The remaining four (Parsifal and the Atom 1916–1917, Geometric Series and Other Works 1917–1920, Late Watercolours 1922–1941, and Portraits and Miscellaneous Works 1886–1940) were published in 2022.
The Fotografiska Shop will have the complete catalog raisonné available and select individual tiles and notecard sets.