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

By T’ai Smith


The Bauhaus college 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. some distance 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 leading edge creations inspired a modernist idea 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 girls challenged assumptions concerning 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 puzzling over specific media. In parsing texts approximately tapestries and sensible textiles, the very important position those girls performed in debates approximately medium within the 20th century and a nuanced background of the Bauhaus involves light.


Bauhaus Weaving Theory deftly reframes the Bauhaus weaving workshop as primary to theoretical inquiry on the university. placing questions of the way worth and legitimacy are validated within the paintings global into discussion with the bounds of modernism, Smith confronts the assumption that the crafts are handbook and technical yet by no means highbrow arts.


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Identifying herself as a patent “author”—­an “inventor” in a design world mostly marked by anonymity—­she would also define her craft anew. ” The book’s conclusion examines how the writing of Anni Albers quickly expanded after she immigrated to America with her husband, Josef, in 1933. Through texts published in magazines or x x xiv I n t r o d u c t i o n catalogs and ultimately in two books—­On Designing (1959) and On Weaving (1965)—­she considered terms like medium and design as they integrated and, in postwar America, increasingly eclipsed the work of craft.

Harnessing the functionalist (Sachlichkeit) discourse of the Neues Bauen movement (Adolf Behne and Walter Gropius), they specified the use of textiles in architectural space. Chapter 3 examines how weaving student Otti Berger drew on László Moholy-­Nagy’s arguments regarding the “optical” nature of photography to develop a complementary theory of tactility as it pertained to cloth. While close-­up photographs of Bauhaus textiles in magazines and brochures worked to sell the workshop’s products, Berger reflected on the simultaneous visuality and “hold-­ability” (Haltbarkeit) of the woven medium.

Internal necessity (innere Notwendigkeit), Kandinsky’s category for the principle of art, is the term around which Kandinsky’s thesis develops and, it could be argued, becomes undone. ”49 But related to the category of art more generally, internal necessity reaches beyond the limits of the concrete form, and its manifestation through a medium, to contact a spirit—­an interior of a different sort. ”52 Indeed, in this term internal necessity two distinct elements (the space of the work and internal space of the soul) correspond to one another as in an analogy, but also with one another, as if across a direct passage from the artist’s soul to the work to the receptive viewer.

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