Don’t call it a comeback. Our fourth select from af Klint’s The Ten Largest series is an extension, an illumination, a excellent counterpart to any of our existing af Klint editions or a stunning solo statement. Like the subsequent piece in the series (also available as a limited-edition print!), The Ten Largest, No. 6, Adulthood, Group IV’s action takes place against a gauzy light lavender background. That background’s inconsistent texture contrasts af Klint’s sharp linework. The piece is as defined and enunciated as it is nebulous and elliptical—one of the persistent pleasures of all the creations in The Ten Largest.
As we’ve written before, the series as a whole is af Klint’s interpretation of the human life cycle, from early childhood to old age. Each painting is stacked with symbolism and colorful, absorbing abstractions:
In No. 6, Adulthood, nested, overlapping, unfurling circular, droplet and shell-like shapes preside over the image. Some feel very independent, others inextricably linked, all of them connected on af Klint's canvas. The black form at center recalls a neopagan Triple Goddess Symbol, maybe meant to reorient the viewer in the larger idea of a life cycle af Klint was exploring. Dashed lines confuse our sense of space, implying the presence of multiple dimensions—seen, unseen and somewhere in between. Invented, spiraling letterforms and unrecognizable words drift across the lower half of the frame like unloosed lines from some mystically familiar but utterly unplaceable poem. All the details are part of af Klint’s visual dialect, one that’s complex and comprehensive, but beautifully inscrutable.
Af Klint’s abstract imagery is spellbinding and stylistically groundbreaking, enough to keep any observing art lover fully occupied. (Remember that her abstractions predated that of artists like Kandinsky and Mondrian—something the public didn’t learn until long after the fact, since af Klint literally wrote it into her will that her non-figurative paintings not be revealed until 20 years after her death.) But as 20x200 contributing writer Allison Meier pointed out, “to fully comprehend these works, it’s crucial to take af Klint’s spiritual appetite into consideration.” She goes on to say:
Even without a perfect understanding of af Klint’s opaque inner workings, looking at her paintings often feels like glimpsing the divine. Such is the power of her perhaps bizarre brilliance—you don’t need a blueprint to the mechanics behind her art to appreciate its genius, but the more you learn, the more your mind will be blown.
With art for everyone,