Monday 22 October 2018

anni albers at tate modern

There is a hierarchy in art with textiles low down the pecking order. When at Goldsmiths in the early noughties the Fine Art MA would not share a catalogue with the Textiles MA. I reflected on this while walking round the final shows in which it was impossible to spot the boundary between courses. We use textile - association, thread, fabric and process as a material ripe with context, history, culture and meaning. It is simple, we are artists.

From a tiny look at social media I sensed the deep intake of breath from artists and designers around the opening of the Anni Albers show at Tate Modern. Fortunately I was in London for the opening weekend and got to see the highly sophisticated craft of weaving united with the language of modern art and abstraction.

I read EVERYTHING in the show, and noted down these snippets from Anni Albers which resonated...

Room 2

A Start: Weaving at The Bauhaus
'One outstanding characteristic of the Bauhaus has been, to my mind, an unprejudiced attitude toward materials and their inherent capacities.'

'... went into weaving unenthusiastically, as merely the least objectionable choice, but gradually threads caught my imagination.'

Room 6

The Pliable Plane
'The essentially structural principles that relate the work of building and weaving could form the basis of a new understanding between the architect and the inventive weaver. New uses of fabrics and new fabrics could result from a collaboration: and textiles, so often no more that an afterthought in planning, might take a place again as a contributing thought.'

Room 10

Material as Metaphor: Prints, Drawings and textile samples
'... Circumstances held me to threads and they won me over. I learned to listen to them and to speak their language... And with the listening came gradually a longing for a freedom beyond their range and that led me to another medium, graphics. Threads were no longer as before three-dimensional; only their resemblance appeared drawn or printed on paper. What I learned in handling threads, I now use in the printing process.'