Discovering textiles. Wall Hangings

Anni Albers’ creative process was one of constant exploration, and it was marked by a series of discoveries. At the Bauhaus she entered the world of textiles, while years later, in the United States, she was to discover the potential of prints.

Albers enrolled in 1922 in the textile workshop of the Bauhaus. At that time, as the artist herself explained, “weaving was not developed very much as a specific discipline but rather as a loosely used tool.”

On one occasion, the artist stated: “I think the way I approach weaving today is partly just sitting down in a completely free way and figuring out what happens if I twist this, turn this, and so on.” After learning about dying processes and the functioning of looms, Albers studied the aesthetic and industrial potential of textiles. That search led to the making of her first wall hangings.

The artist devised a systematic and organized method of production that allowed the textiles to be manufactured serially and in large quantities, though she did not not do serial weavings. Her woven wall hangings displayed modular patterns which were repeated, rotated or interlaced in accordance with geometrical rules. Albers would choose a figure—the triangle was one of her favorites—and would repeat it until she achieved the final composition she desired. On this initial basis, Albers could then weave a new secondary pattern or create different layers and volumes, giving the piece different densities. Her observation of the work of Paul Klee (1879–1940), who was a teacher at the Bauhaus when Albers was studying there, and was the  formmaster of the textile workshop for some years, had an essential influence on the artist’s working method.