BRATTLEBORO, VT — Epsilon Spires and the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center (BMAC) will present a screening of “Hilma” by Swedish director Lasse Hallström, on May 21, at 8 p.m., in Epsilon Spires’ outdoor cinema. The film provides a nuanced portrait of the revolutionary female artist Hilma af Klint, only recently recognized as the earliest pioneer of modern abstract art. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at epsilonspires.org or in person at Epsilon Spires. Thanks to a generous grant from the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, sliding-scale (pay-as-you-can) tickets are available for those who self-identify as experiencing financial hardship.
“Hilma” explores af Klint’s innovative artistic practice, her deep commitment to theosophy, a form of occultism popular in Europe around the turn of the century, and her homosexual romantic life and close circle of female artists. Born in 1862 in Sweden, where she lived and worked until her death in 1944, af Klint lived through a period of drastic social, political, and artistic change across Europe. “Hilma” delves into the complexities and challenges of being an educated and talented woman artist and intellectual during this period in which women’s independence, professionalism, and rights were highly contested.
Hallström first gained recognition for directing nearly all the music videos of the world-renowned Swedish pop group ABBA. Hallström has also directed acclaimed independent films, including “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993), “Chocolat” (2000), “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009). He has been nominated for several Academy Awards, including best director and best-adapted Screenplay for “My Life as a Dog” (1988) as well as best director for “The Cider House Rules” (2000), which was filmed in the Brattleboro area.
“I’ve spent several years trying to understand the mystery of Hilma af Klint. This is a story about an unwavering search for the truth about humanity and the universe, at a time when men set all the rules,” Hallström has said of the new film. “Despite so many obstacles, Hilma created art that influences our lives today. My ambition is for the audience to experience these struggles with all their senses.” According to a recent New York Times review of the film, Hallström has achieved an emotionally powerful image of af Klint.
The upcoming screening hosted by Epsilon Spires offers the opportunity for all art and film lovers to experience af Klint’s remarkable story in a comfortable picnic-like setting. Restrooms and refreshments will be available. In the case of rain, this event will be moved indoors.
Epsilon Spires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts venue based in a repurposed historic cathedral in the heart of downtown Brattleboro, Epsilon Spires provides opportunities to engage in creative experimentation and critical thinking through innovative performances, art exhibits, film screenings, panel discussions, and educational workshops. We offer our community a safe environment for civil discourse by addressing current topics through the integration of diverse forms of expression on multimedia platforms. Our name combines a reference to the iconic architectural structure of our building with the Greek letter epsilon, which, when applied in physics, can be understood as “pushing the envelope.” To explore the dynamic range of programming we present at Epsilon Spires, please visit epsilonspires.org.
Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. BMAC is open Wednesday–Sunday, 10–4. Admission is free. Located in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro, at the intersection of Main Street and Routes 119 and 142, the museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.
BMAC is supported in part by the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Brattleboro Savings & Loan, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, and Whetstone Beer Co.