seam at Anni Albers PV, Tate Modern

Tate Modern exhibition poster

The seam team were delighted to receive an invitation to the PV of the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern on 9 October.

seam members at Tate Modern – left to right Desiree Goodall, Julie Heaton, Kate Bond, Gill Hewitt, LouLou Row and Angie Parker.

Six members (+1!) made their way to London, starting out even before the crack of dawn! But it was well worth it – what a fantastic exhibition.

Curators Ann Coxon and Briony Fer gave us an excellent introduction to the exhibition describing the impact Anni Albers had on the world of Abstract Modernism. This was followed by an engaging talk by Nicholas Fox Weber, a good friend of Anni and Josef Albers. He gave us an insight into Anni’s lifestyle and her quiet but tenacious personality. He described how Anni hated restrictions being placed on her – one of her tutors told her she wasn’t allowed to use black in her designs – resulting in many of her artworks featuring black!

Anni Albers, Open Letter 1958, cotton

It was a delight to see such a wide variety of Anni’s work, her inspiration and working methods, alongside work by her contemporaries. She particularly admired and was inspired by the weaving masters in Peru, learning ancient techniques from them which she incorporated into her work, interpreting them in a new modernist way.

Anni was also inspired by the line of the thread itself, researching and drawing knots and bringing these into her artwork. I like the way they add textural layers and depth to the work.

Anni Albers, Dotted 1959, wool

The exhibition showed Anni’s process of design development sometimes working on graph paper but mostly working samples on the loom. She had a huge catalogue of samples which she worked from, all carefully labelled and catalogued by herself.

Anni Albers, example of design process on graph paper

I particularly enjoyed her subtle use of colour, with a limited palette, giving order to the designs without the use of repeat pattern as can be seen in this image below.

Anni Albers, Black White Yellow 1926, cotton and silk

Exhibits were wide-ranging included room dividers, art panels known as pictorial weavings, commissioned work, woven and printed fabrics and samples.

Anni Albers, free-hanging room dividers 1948/49

I loved that she was so experimental in her work, for example using plastics and reflective materials and working on improving the acoustic performance of textiles.

Anni Albers, Variations on a Theme 1958, cotton, linen and plastic
Examples of variety of materials used

It was a very inspiring day and I think we all returned with renewed energy and enthusiasm!

seam members, Julie Heaton, Desiree Goodall, Angie Parker and Gill Hewitt

Many thanks to Tate Modern for the invitation. What a great day that was!

Gill Hewitt

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