World Receivers: Mediumistic Artists in the Lenbachhaus

Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany | November 6, 2018 – March 10, 2019

In the context of the established museum business, mediumistic art has come a long way. From initial disregard and contempt, through mediation of André Breton a certain type of mediumistic creations has been elevated through Jean Dubuffet's concept of Art Brut to a kind of counter-art against the canon of acknowledged art. Above all through the rediscovery of Hilma af Klint's (1862-1944) mediumistic oeuvre in recent decades, mediumistic art is currently being viewed by art historians from a completely new perspective and followed with increasing curiosity, to the point of being discussed as pioneering the emergence of modern abstract art.

Symptomatic of this development is the stimulating exhibition World Receivers in the Lehnbachhaus in Munich, which focuses on the work of three intriguing mediumistic artists: Georgiana Houghton (1814-1884) from England, Hilma af Klint from Sweden, and Emma Kunz (1892-1963) from Switzerland. They each developed their own independent abstract imagery based on probing into the realms of spiritualism, mediumship and automatism. In their works it becomes clear that mediumistic creation is by no means exclusively achieved by eliminating conscious control and abandoning oneself to involuntary influences perceived as external powers. Here we encounter three examples in which mediumistic art is rather the result of a collaborative effort of the artist with unseen entities. All three artists express that their ability to interact with spirits led them to express profound insight into the nature of the spiritual realms.

With the exhibition World Receivers, mediumistic art finally enters the White Cube, the protected and jealously guarded space for creations sanctioned by the art world, and conquers a place in the art historical discourse in the emergence of modern abstract art in the 20th century.


world rec bookExhibition Catalogue
Ed. Karin Althaus, Matthias Mühling, Sebastian Schneider
276 pages, 200 illustrations
ISBN: 978-3-7774-3157-4







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