On Tuesday, April 2, I boarded a plane with my mother and a long-cherished wish to go to New York was fulfilled.
The exhibitions of two artists were the reason to finally visit New York. In addition, I hoped to gain a lot of inspiration and to be able to expand my own frame of reference.
And it certainly did! What an inspiration! What overwhelming energy and possibilities. There were many highlights and the two exhibitions I came for exceeded my expectations.
The Guggenheim museum showed the work of Hilma af Klint. This Swedish artist lived from 1862 to 1944. She was very much involved in spirituality and for years worked secretly on a large series of paintings that were intended for the ‘temple of life’. The work includes a series of huge large colorful canvases, incredible in terms of color schemes and shapes and compositions. I’ve never seen anything like it before, it was that special. Hilma af Klint was afraid that her work would not be understood and perhaps even destroyed, so she had it recorded in her will that her work could only be made public 20 years after her death. What also makes Hilma af Klint’s work extraordinary, is that she already made abstract paintings before abstract art was supposedly ‘invented’, many years later, by Kandinsky and Mondrian. For this reason alone, according to art critics and art historians, art history must now be rewritten.
This exhibition was her first major retrospective that has received a lot of attention worldwide and now it appears that with 600,000 visitors it is the most visited museum exhibition ever.
The second exhibition that made a huge impression on me is the exhibition about Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum. She lived in Mexico from 1907 to 1954 and she is known worldwide today for her quirky style of Mexican costume, flowers in the hair and her beautiful portrait photos.
Frida Kahlo had a very dramatic life, as a child she got polio on her leg and at the age of 18 she had a serious tram accident. All her life she had to live with the consequences of this. This meant that she had to be operated on more than 50 times and had to lie in bed in a plaster corset for several periods in her life.
Frida continuously turned her weaknesses into her strength, painting all her suffering, pain and sorrow even lying in bed. She attracted attention because of her strong personality, her bravado and the colorful Mexican costume she wore. Frida was married to Diego Rivera, already a famous painter in Mexico at the time.
For the first time in 15 years, Frida Kahlo’s collection was brought together with her special collection of clothes, jewellery and the plaster corsets she wore painted by her. Everything was now on display in one exhibition. This, too, was all incredibly impressive.
These two strong women Frida and Hilma have left their footprints in an art world dominated and dominated by men (according to the latest figures, only 5% of all art in museums worldwide is made by women). They painted on themes that are still controversial today, they were far ahead of their time.
New York exceeded my expectations in many ways, once home I made the painting ‘In a mans world’. I find the flower painting and the age-old theme of ‘Vanitas’, about vanity, emptiness and transience, very interesting. The work and flowers are made up of cigar bands. All images of the cigar bands show men, portraits of presidents, dictators and kings. Cigars were usually smoked by men.
For me, the colors and the radiance represent the energy of the city of New York. The colors and shapes of the painting are also inspired by the work of Hilma and Frida. How happy and grateful I am that as a woman I live in this time, that as an artist I can make paintings that I want to make and that it can be seen!