As an art gallery owner for almost 30 years, I’ve often used the expression “misogynist art mafia”, I know well the dearth of female artists represented in art history, and deal with a market that continues to sideline women, or discount their work as a temporary trend. It’s endlessly infuriating. The documentary Beyond the Visible, about artist Hilma af Klint, stands as a reaffirmation of how women have been dismissed, ignored, and uncredited. It also makes a case for Klint’s work being essential, and that it should be included in lectures and history books, and that she should be highlighted as Sweden’s premiere artist, as one of the vanguards of modern art and the first abstract artist.
She was creating images as early as 1906 that spoke to an aesthetic labeled ‘abstract’, but the style was only recognized later, when male artists Kandinsky and Mondrian came into prominence. Hilma af Klint just never got the recognition she deserved.
Director Halina Dryschka’s Beyond the Visible serves to change that, and it is engaging enough to expand understanding on a large scale if it finds an audience, which it deserves. The question we should all be asking, once again, is how many women in history have been sidelined that will never find a voice, and why are the male-centered establishments in so many industries so terrified to give them their due?