News | 3 December 2021
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Friday Five: Discovering Hilma’s secret paintings

The recent rediscovery of Hilma af Klint's abstract paintings has changed the course of art and art history. Discover her secret paintings and more with these events at City Gallery.

Seven very large paintings in pink, orange, yellow and blue tones, lining the wall of a gallery with the silhouettes of two onlookers admiring the art standing on a vast wooden floor.
The Ten Largest, 1907. Photo courtesy of Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

1. City Gallery welcomes Hilma af Klint 

The highly anticipated Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings will be opening this Saturday, along with Pages of Mercury: Rita Angus, Andrew Beck, Séraphine Pick.

Hilma af Klint believed the world was not ready for her work when she was living. She instructed for her work to be kept secret for at least 20 years after her death. This is the first showing of her work in Aotearoa. 

Like af Klint, Rita Angus believed that her art was not for her time, declaring ‘I paint for the next two generations’. This exhibition contains drawings extracted from Angus’ ‘Pages of Mercury’ sketch books. The exhibition also explores Andrew Beck and Séraphine Pick’s fascination with these drawings. 

Both exhibitions run between December 4 - March 27. 

The cream stone Wellington City Gallery building, with tall dark rectangle windows, and a large hand sculpture on the roof.

2. Film: Beyond the Visible 

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, colourful, sensual works.  

Beyond the Visible is a documentary which explores af Klint and her place in abstract art history. 

This film will be showing on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 December at 3pm. Find out more on the City Gallery website.  

A woman in Victorian clothing, a white shirt and long dark skirt, sitting on a chair and her elbow on the table with head resting on her hand, with an easel and artwork leaning up against a wall behind her. Image is black and white.
Hilma af Klint at her studio at Hamngatan 5, Stockholm C1895. Photograph courtesy of the Hilma af Klint Foundation, Stockholm.

3. Artists Respond to Hilma af Klint     

In this panel, five New Zealand artists whose work is influenced by af Klint share their responses to her life and legacy. 

The floor talk includes Te Whanganui-a-Tara and Mumbai-based Areez Katki, three artists based in Tāmaki Makaurau - Judy Millar, Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and Grace Wright - along with Ōtautahi-based Jen Bowmast.  

This event will take place on Sunday 5 December at 10.30am. Find out more on the City Gallery website

A large blue painting with circular floral patterns in pink, yellow, cream and orange.
The Ten Largest, No. 1, Childhood, Group IV, 1907, HAK No. 102. By courtesy of the Hilma af Klint Foundation. Photo by The Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden.

4. Hilma af Klint Under the Full Moon 

Indulge in a variety of activities including sound bathing, moongazing, and botanic drawing, while Joining City Gallery after hours to explore af Klint’s luminary works. 

This event will be held under the full moon on Sunday 19 December from 7pm to midnight. Book tickets at City Gallery’s website

5. A spot of Christmas shopping anyone? 

If you are feeling stuck with your holiday shopping, check out the City Gallery shop either in person or online

Peruse the award-winning art and design books, activities and toys for creative kids, New Zealand–made homewares and jewellery, plus plenty of Hilma merchandise. 

If you’re looking for another way to support the gallery, you can become a Friend of City Gallery. Friends get concession entry to ticketed events, receive 20 percent off shop purchases over the Christmas period, and there are other benefits too. Find out more about becoming a Friend of City Gallery

Visitors to City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi (age 12+) will need to verify their My Vaccine Pass on entry from Friday, 3 December. For more information, visit the City Gallery website.

Watch out each Friday for a fun list of five great activities to do, places to explore, or things to discover in our awesome city.