The contribution of esoteric thought to modern art has long been overlooked. But in recent years, with major international exhibitions dedicated to artists such as Hilma af Klint and the members of the Transcendental Painting Group, an alternative version of modernity – one deeply informed by mysticism – has come to the fore. With exhibitions dedicated to M.K. Čiurlionis and Luigi Pericle currently on show in London, at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Estorick Collection respectively, this event will explore the commitment of two artists to esoteric philosophies – and the role such thinking played in their art. How are such contexts best communicated in the gallery? How should we approach and interpret these artists’ paintings? And where do such figures fit in the evolving story of modern art? 

Speakers: Andrea Biasca-Caroni (President, Archivio Luigi Pericle, Ascona), Kathleen Soriano (independent curator, art historian and broadcaster, and curator of ‘M.K. Čiurlionis: Between Worlds’) 

Chaired by Thomas Marks (Associate Fellow, Warburg Institute) 

Curatorial Conversations invites museum directors and makers of recent exhibitions at world-leading museums and galleries to the Warburg to discuss their work. The conversations, led by academics at the Warburg Institute, discuss the issues of setting the directorial or curatorial agenda and staging meaningful encounters with objects. The series is designed to draw out discussion of the discoveries made, challenges tackled and the lessons learned in heading a collection and putting together internationally renowned exhibitions.

This event took place on 2 December 2023.