K20 Grabbeplatz, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
– 9 September 2018
Anni Albers was a German-American artist and designer. She developed textile structures, colourations, and an abstract formal language as well as innovative textiles for carpets and curtains. The retrospective begins in Germany in 1922 with her time at the Bauhaus and extends to her work in the United States until the 1980s.
The exhibition has been organised by the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf with the Tate Gallery of Modern Art London.
Born in 1899 as Annelise Elsa Frieda Fleischmann, Anni Albers was one of the most influential women in the development of modernity. She studied textile design at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, where she experimented with materials, techniques, and structures and revolutionised textiles and their production. During the Second World War, she emigrated to the United States with her husband Josef Albers, where she continued to develop new woven threads and textiles, and taught and wrote about colour theory and design. She died in 1994.
Anni Albers formulated her experiences in 1984 as follows: “Students worry about choosing their way. I always tell them, you can go anywhere from anywhere. In my case it was threads that caught me, really against my will. To work with threads seemed sissy to me. I wanted something to be conquered. But circumstances held me to threads and they won me over. I learned to listen to them and to speak their language. I learned the process of handling them. 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 am trying to get across is that material is a means of communication. That listening to it, not dominating it makes us truly active, that is: to be active, be passive.” Quotation from the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation website.