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By T’ai Smith

The Bauhaus university in Germany has lengthy been understood during the writings of its founding director, Walter Gropius, and famous artists who taught there equivalent to Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy. some distance much less well-known are texts via girls 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 textile, the workshop’s cutting edge creations prompted a modernist conception 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 different disciplines like portray, structure, and images, Smith argues, the weavers resisted modernist puzzling over special media. In parsing texts approximately tapestries and sensible textiles, the very important position 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 imperative to theoretical inquiry on the institution. placing questions of ways price and legitimacy are tested within the artwork 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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Perhaps the salient question to be asked in light of Stölzl’s statement: what was a “picture” at the early Bauhaus (1919–­23) and at this moment in Germany, and what did it mean to make that Bauhaus picture in wool? And finally, why, or how, does this craft accrue a gendered value? Rather than compare the work on paper or canvas and the same motif in weaving—­ and bemoan the arbitrary hierarchy that divides them—­it may be more productive to draw out their differences, to show how those morphological similarities and medial ruptures produced more confusion than clarity.

Women were excluded from most of the old handicrafts, and also from most of the art academies until the early 1920s. 28 Identity and being versus (merely) doing: categories helped differentiate the objective hierarchy or status of the diverse crafts taught at the school, as Baumhoff suggests, but they also helped decide which crafts best fit (or not) into Gropius’s curricular goals. ) The problem of mere doing that Baumhoff brilliantly points out indeed subtended the gender of the weaving medium in the early years.

The woven design is built in tandem with its physical matrix, so the tapestry’s picture is not imposed onto a material ground but, rather, embedded in and transformed by the different kinds of threads and structures used in the process. So while another weave—­the canvas—­provides the forgotten, or neglected, structural ground for painting’s content, the visual design of the tapestry cannot pretend to detach itself from, or supersede, the material through which it is made on a particular apparatus­—the loom.

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