The Prescience of Visionary Art

This week I really enjoyed thinking about mysticism and symbolism and the ways that these modalities were precursors to, or in some ways led the charge into modernity and more modern movements like surrealism and even more abstract movements geared towards exploring colour and form. There’s a way that visionary art both sees the future and has a hand in creating it! The illustration of the man sitting on top of the skull reminds me of a Dali dreamscape, and our discussions of Pamela Coleman Smith’s relationship to the occult and mysticism reminds me of the life and work of Hilma af Klint, although Klint’s relationship to the other side was maybe more earnest and urgent. It’s funny how a lot of different art and literary movements have dreams of literally making the future that in some ways come true! This also makes me think of little magazines as almost early forms of the manifestoes that became so ubiquitous throughout the 20th century. So many art movements were just started by coteries of friends who were makers that shared values about what art and culture should be! This seems to be a larger condition of modernity, that one’s intentions extend out into posterity and a new world that’s constantly being reshaped by sort of self-fulfilling prophecies.


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