By Tai 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 by means of ladies within the school’s weaving workshop. In Bauhaus Weaving Theory, T’ai Smith uncovers new importance 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 motivated 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 info how those girls 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 brooding about exact media. In parsing texts approximately tapestries and practical textiles, the very important position those girls 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 crucial to theoretical inquiry on the university. placing questions of ways worth and legitimacy are demonstrated within the paintings international into discussion with the boundaries of modernism, Smith confronts the idea that the crafts are guide and technical yet by no means highbrow arts.
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Extra info for Bauhaus weaving theory : from feminine craft to mode of design
24 A proposal by Gropius’s student Walter Determann for a Bauhaus Development in 1920, like the weaving by Jungnik discussed earlier, encapsulates the challenges of this initial Bauhaus moment as it emerged out of the AfK (in the intersection of expressionism and architecture). If seen without the surrounding text, this Siedlung design might be mistaken for an abstract drawing by Itten—one in which an oblong pentagon is divided internally into geometric shapes (diamonds, zigzags, and squares) using a modernist palette of mostly primary colors.
Moreover, Baumhoff continues, this division spoke to Gropius’s larger concern about the flood of women entering the school: These categories were themselves gendered: high art and handicraft were male domains, but arts-and-crafts was a female occupation, with comparatively low status. While the first Bauhaus statutes, such as its admissions policies, explicitly prohibited sexual discrimination against women, the de facto Bauhaus policy did just that. This was due to the fact that craftsmanship was traditionally a male sphere in Germany.
Thus, for the purposes of this book, weaving is as much a craft and medium as it is an apparatus (dispositif ), in the Foucauldian sense. . ”73 Weaving is at once this particular technique as opposed to that one (say, painting or architecture), and also the network that in various concrete, practical, and theoretical modes links together the competing discourses of modernism. P i ct u r e s M a d e o f W o o l W e av i n g L a b o r i n th e W o r k s h o p 1 The [mass] ornament, detached from its bearers, must be understood rationally.