Tate Modern’s latest exhibition pairs two artists who never met and likely didn’t know about each other’s work, but in their own ways were contemporaries, even if they themselves didn’t know it.

Hilma af Klint was a spiritual artist who moved from early landscapes and naturalistic paintings into becoming a very early proponent of abstract art, and while overlooked in her time, and for some years later – she’s now a lauded artist.

She’s been paired with Piet Mondrian who also went on a similar journey, but being a man he got all the publicity, and there are few who are unaware of his dramatic bold blockwork paintings.

Although the exhibition opens with the two artists sitting side by side in their early years, with plenty of landscapes and a whole room of flowers — but they swiftly diverge in the exhibition and you rarely see them together again.

Although Mondrian’s work is familiar to many, Af Klint’s is less so, and is very heavily dominated by her spiritual work and a heck of a lot of spirals — in contrast to Mondrian’s lines and blocks.

That does make the exhibition feel more like two separate displays that share a single entrance, so you can look at it as a two for one offer, or try to find the hidden links between their works.

It’s a huge exhibition, and there’s a lot to see, however, it’s a difficult exhibition to quantify, and it’s clear that the curators are trying something clever and innovative, but unless you’re really familiar with the story of the two artists and their works already, it might be a message that’s lost.

The exhibition, Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian Forms of Life is at Tate Modern until 3rd September.

Tickets can be booked from here.


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