Bauhaus weaving theory : from feminine craft to mode of by T’ai Smith

By T’ai Smith


The Bauhaus institution in Germany has lengthy been understood throughout the writings of its founding director, Walter Gropius, and recognized artists who taught there resembling Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy. a long way much less well-known are texts through ladies within the school’s weaving workshop. In Bauhaus Weaving Theory, T’ai Smith uncovers new value within the paintings the Bauhaus weavers did as writers.


From colourful, expressionist tapestries to the discovery of soundproofing and light-reflective cloth, the workshop’s cutting edge creations inspired a modernist thought of weaving. within the first cautious exam of the writings of Bauhaus weavers, together with Anni Albers, Gunta Stözl, and Otti Berger, Smith information how those ladies challenged assumptions in regards to the female nature in their craft. As they harnessed the vocabulary of alternative disciplines like portray, structure, and images, Smith argues, the weavers resisted modernist wondering specific media. In parsing texts approximately tapestries and useful textiles, the important function those ladies performed in debates approximately medium within the 20th century and a nuanced heritage of the Bauhaus involves light.


Bauhaus Weaving Theory deftly reframes the Bauhaus weaving workshop as relevant to theoretical inquiry on the tuition. placing questions of ways price and legitimacy are proven within the paintings global into discussion with the boundaries of modernism, Smith confronts the assumption that the crafts are guide and technical yet by no means highbrow arts.


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The painted white surface—­beneath the compositional figure of abstract forms—­itself overlays a canvas, which only works to create a layer of distance between the structural support and the artist’s idea. Through the flat white gesso, the material difference between the canvas and the paint forming the “picture” is maintained, or rather reinforced, by a layer of paint-­glue. In Jungnik’s tapestry, by contrast, the design and the surface are one and the same—­they are made from the same material and process.

A sharply expressionist, pseudo-­Gothic cathedral rises toward the sky, lit from behind by a great spiritual sun that casts forth beams of energy. Capturing perfectly the sentiment of German postwar culture in the wake of war, Gropius’s new educational program and Feininger’s print reflected the expansion of expressionism in German culture (which had by then saturated the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music, and film). 16 What Gropius established in early 1919 perfectly suited the postwar obsession with self-­reliance and finding harmony in nature, sentiments expressed in the back-­ to-­nature Wandervogel movement that had captured the imagination of so many of Germany’s disillusioned youth at the time.

The shape is not imposed onto the material, as when patterns are printed on blocks of plain cloth, or when paint delineates forms on the surface of primed canvas. Rather, if this wall hanging yields a composition of shapes and color, it is clearly formed from within the weave.  . realized that her works on paper were categorized as art, but that a similar motif in textile design was suddenly regarded as craft. ”6 But the terms of the comparison, as understood by Albers, also leave us with a predicament in terminology, or of categorical boundaries—­a predicament from which several overlapping questions about these media ensue.

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