Albers: Unwoven

Anni Albers was born Annelise Else Frieda Fleischmann in Berlin on June 12th 1899. In 1922, she entered the rigours an experimentation of the recently formed Bauhaus school in Weimar, where arts, crafts and architecture were all regarded in tandem. Shortly after arriving there, she met Josef Albers, eleven years her senior, whom she married in 1925. In the same year, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, where she became a tutor.

While Josef's primary concern was with theories of colour, she utilised her own mature aesthetic in textiles and printmaking. In Anni's time at the Bauhaus, she managed to elevate the status of threads, putting them on an equal footing with other arts media. She also designed groundbreaking textiles for industry.

At the Bauhaus, her great inspiration was Paul Klee, who eventually became the Albers' neighbour. She also had profound admiration for her husband and Vassily Kandinsky, who both taught at the school.

When the Bauhaus closed in 1933, she and Josef moved to America where they taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina - another pioneering institution in the field of arts.

n 1950, Josef took a position as chairman of the department of design at Yale University, and they both moved to New Haven, Connecticut where Anni spent the rest of her life.

Anni is known as one of the foremost textile designers of the twentieth century. The discipline imposed by this medium and its machinery and implements - which she used until her death in 1994 - gave her a perfect introduction to the demands of lithography, screenprinting and etching. Her attention to the possibilities of the media and her positive collaboration with the printers yielded many innovative results. Minimising self revelation, concentrating on technique and the voices of her vision, she stuck to her task of transmitting timeless design to the best of her ability.

Today, her prints strike us as refreshing in their purity and order, yet subtle in their systems and rhythms. The works have the signatures of man - straight lines and angles - but are beautifully organic, led by processes and nature.

Maiden Bridge Arts Centre is to become the first gallery in Britain to show a comprehensive collection of Anni Albers' work. The exhibition will run for two weeks from Saturday 7th June.

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