'Beyond the Visible, Hilma af Klint' Art Documentary Named Eligible For Consideration in 93rd Academy Awards®

  • January 28, 2021 14:30

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From the film "Beyond the Visible, Hilma af Klint." Painting by Hilma af Klint © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk
Hilma af Klint, Altarpiece, No. 1, Group X, Altarpieces, 1915. photo: The Moderna Museet, Stockholm. © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

It is more than time to tell the untold heroine stories. And there are many of them. This is one. - Halina Dyrschka, director of Beyond the Visible, Hilma af Klint

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Thursday the feature films eligible for consideration in the Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature and International Feature Film categories for the 93rd Academy Awards®. Shining a light on the groundbreaking work of an overlooked artist, Beyond the Visible, Hilma af Klint (Zeitgeist Films) is listed among the eligible documentaries. 

The artist Hilma af Klint © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

From the film's synopsis: Hilma af Klint was an abstract artist before the term existed, a visionary, trailblazing figure who, inspired by spiritualism, modern science, and the riches of the natural world around her, began in 1906 to reel out a series of huge, colorful, sensual, strange works without precedent in painting. The subject of a recent smash retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, af Klint was for years an all-but-forgotten figure in art historical discourse, before her long-delayed rediscovery. Director Halina Dryschka’s dazzling, course correcting documentary describes not only the life and craft of af Klint, but also the process of her mischaracterization and erasure by both a patriarchal narrative of artistic progress and capitalistic determination of artistic value. 

Dyrschka described the making of the film. She said: "Seldom are there really surprising discoveries. On a quite normal Sunday morning I read the following title in the newspaper: 'Art history has to be rewritten.' What a great idea in the year 2013! This article was telling about an abstract artist from the beginning of the 19th century who seemed to be completely unknown."

"A few months later in Berlin I visited the exhibition 'Hilma af Klint-A Pioneer of Abstraction' - and was speechless: exuberant colour compositions and over-dimensional paintings. I was standing in the middle of a hall surrounded by Hilma af Klint’s 'Ten Largest': Altogether 25 meters of paintings-3,60 meters high. And beyond these paintings-a whole world. But why have they been kept from me for so long? I almost felt personally insulted when I read that this was a new discovery and the paintings have been hidden for decades. Could that be true? Paintings in this size are hard to hide. And who would be interested in marginalizing this artist’s accomplishments? And why? Starting the research immediately afterwards I discovered a very different picture of Hilma af Klint: not at all alone or lonely and not hiding her paintings from the world."

Hilma af Klint, The Dove II, 1915. Olomouc Museum of Art. © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

"Here was a woman who consequently followed her own path in life that led to a unique oeuvre. A strong character and despite all restrictions Hilma af Klint explored the possibilities that go beyond the visible. She knew that she was doing something important not only for herself but for many people."

"It is more than time to tell the untold heroine stories. And there are many of them. This is one."

"This is a film about a truly successful life. A woman who was not dependent on the opinion of others and kept on going her very unique way of living and working. Dedicated to things that matter in everybody’s life: How do we want to live? How do we achieve a truly content and fulfilled life? And is that what we see real or do we just think it is real?"

Paintings by Hilma af Klint © Stiftelsen Hilma af Klints Verk

"Hilma af Klint’s oeuvre goes even beyond art because she was looking for the whole picture of life. And with that she comes close to the one question: What are we doing here?"

Two hundred thirty-eight features are eligible for consideration in the Documentary Feature category for the 93rd Academy Awards. Films submitted in the Documentary Feature category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture. Members of the Documentary Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.  A shortlist of 15 films will be announced on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. See the U.S. trailer for "Beyond the Visible."

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