Spiritualist Drawings that Open Portals to Other Dimensions

Emma Kunz (1892-1963), “Drawing No. 020” (c. 1939) (© Emma Kunz Zentrum)


Spiritualist Drawings that Open Portals to Other Dimensions

Often compared to the work of Hilma af Klint, dozens of rarely-seen drawings by the late Swiss healer and Spiritualist are on view at the Serpentine Gallery.

Maria Cynkier for HYPERALLERGIC

The exhibition, Visionary Drawings, tells the story of Emma Kunz (1892–1963), a Swiss healer and spiritualist. Her works were only exhibited after her death, and she herself believed that her art was destined to be viewed by later generations. In the last few years, her drawings have been shown alongside the works of artists such as Hilma af Klint and Agnes Martin; however, Kunz’s practice does not easily fit into the history of the development of abstraction. Perhaps this is because art in itself was not her primary occupation; she considered it a means for the exploration of the astral plane.



Just over 40 drawings are displayed in the show, which constitutes a small portion of Kunz’s legacy. Although she didn’t incorporate art-making into her spiritual practice until her forties, she managed to produce hundreds of works. Each one acts as a portal between the earthly realm and the transcendent realm. Spreading out on checkered sheets of graph paper, these “energy field” drawings have an intricate but technical look to them. They were made with a technique called radiesthesia, in which the artist used a divining pendulum to plot the compositions. At times, Kunz would work on them continuously for almost 24 hours, and she considered them to have the potential to give different readings at different times.





Emma Kunz – Visionary Drawings: An exhibition conceived with Chritodoulos Panaviotou, curated by Melissa Blanchflower and Natalia Grabowska, is on view at the Serpentine Gallery (Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA) through May 19, 2019. 

Barry William Hale

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