Another pair of fabulous exhibitions. First up there is the Swedish artist Hilma Af Klint at the Serpentine Gallery (pic above). The exhibition is called Painting the Unseen because this woman, who painted extraordinary abstracts in the mid 1800s and early 1900s, was trying to express spiritual feelings via her art. Invisible worlds made visible. Af Klint even joined a group for séances to experience spirits. She is now regarded as a pioneer of abstract art, before Kandinsky, Mondrian and Malevich. Her work was so avant garde for it’s time that it would have never really been accepted, and having left all her work to her nephew she made him promise not to show it for 20 years after her death. It is a really astonishing show, and there is a little area on the right as you go in, with her notebooks and some really beautiful watercolours to make your arms tingle.
Over the bridge at the Serpentine Sackler you zoom forward in time to the work of two contemporary German artists, Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder who work together and call themselves DAS INSTITUT (pic right). This exhibition is so good. “The artists are constantly looking at ways to collaborate with one another,” explains curator Rebecca Lewin. The works don’t belong to one artist or another and some are done together. “The relationship between the two of them and how they work together is important,” says Lewin, “And how they bring others in, like master craftsmen and other collaborators.” They are also keen to get rid of the idea of artist signatures. “They feel the name claims objects and they are very keen to resist that,” explains Lewin. The exhibition contains a lot of neon, not a new technology but configured in a way unique to them and some exciting, really wonderful rooms full of colour and light. There is a small room on the right as you enter the Sackler, with a slide show with interesting portraits crudely blacked out to create different profiles. Near the end of the exhibition is a stunning set of sun paintings, where fabric has been coated in sun sensitive dye and the artists bodies sprawled out on them to create energetic silhouettes. Like Hilma Af Klint they are trying to communicate via their art things that cannot easily be expressed, the intuitive, irrational element of human experience and relationships.
From tomorrow, 3rd March – 15th May and remember they are closed on Mondays serpentinegalleries