Sunday 20 January 2019

Anni Albers at Tate Modern

The Anni Albers Exhibition is currently on at Tate Modern in London.  

12 Shaft Counter March Loom c 1950s - similar to that used by Albers in the Weaving Workshop at the Bauhaus

Albers was an artist, designer, teacher and writer.  Born in Berlin in 1899 to a middle class Jewish family, Anni went to the Bauhaus, a radical art school in Weimar, Germany.  There she studied weaving and met her husband, the artist Josef Albers.  When Nazism forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1933, they emigrated to the USA.  They both became teachers at the progressive Black Mountain College in North Carolina.  In 1950 they moved to Connecticut when Josef was appointed to a position in the Department of Design at Yale University School of Art.  Albers was influenced by pre-Columbian textiles and made frequent trips to Mexico, Cuba, Chile & Peru to handle and purchase samples.  Her weavings included those for architecture and interiors as well as pictorial weavings.  However her art is very varied and included jewellery, painting & printing.  She died in 1994.

Wallhanging - original 1927, rewoven by Gunta Stolzl in 1964

Weaving Class Black Mountain College, photo John Harvey Campbell - 1945

Woven Bag - cotton & linen - c 1935-39
Siegfried & Toni Fleischmann, Anni Albers & 2 vendors at Teotihuacan, Mexico 1937, photo Josef Albers

This piece is thought to be one of the first pictorial weavings and incorporates a border of plain weave which the later pictorial weavings did not...

Untitled 1941

South of the Border 1958

Pasture 1958 (detail)

Dotted 1959
Dotted 1959 (detail)

Albers was commissioned by the Jewish Museum in New York to create a memorial to the 6 million Jews who had been killed in the Holocaust.  The six panels represent the six million Jews.  This piece is considered her most ambitious pictorial weaving...
Six Prayers 1966-67

Albers produced these necklaces in collaboration with Alexander Reed, who had been a student at Black Mountain College.  They were inspired by a trip to the ancient site of Monte Alban, Mexico where they saw items incorporating both precious materials, like gold and jade, and found items, like shells.  On their return they experimented with things from hardware stores..

Necklaces c 1940

Ruth Asawa was one of Josef Albers' students at Black Mountain College.  She produced a number of inventive patterned studies when on duty in the laundry room using the stamps used to mark the laundry tickets (BMC - the college initials) on newspaper.  This is the sort of experimentation that Anni Albers encouraged in her classes.

Ruth Asawa - BMC Stampc 1950

Work influenced by Celtic style knots...

Rug - Made by Gloria Finn Dale 1959

Mountainous - Blind Embossed Print on Paper 1978
Study made by puncturing paper

Typewriter Studies

Colour study (blue & reds) 1970 - gouache on blueprint paper

 Many of Albers' pictorial weavings were made on this loom...

Eight Harness Structo-Artcraft 750 Loom

This is only a small taster of what the exhibition covers.  It is well worth a visit and not on for much longer - so get your skates on and go see!

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