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Kettle, A., 2019.

Anni Albers

Output Type:Non-peer reviewed article
Publication:The Journal of Modern Craft
Publisher:Informa UK Limited
Volume/Issue:12 (1)
Pagination:pp. 67-71

Anni Albers
Tate Modern, London, UK, 11 October 2018-27 January 2019.

Exhibition Catalogue: Coxon, Ann, Fer, Briony and Müller-Schareck, Maria, eds. Anni Albers. London, UK: Tate Modern, 2018.
The Anni Albers exhibition, unusually for Tate Modern, opens with a twelve-shaft Countermarch handloom comparable to the one that Albers used in her studio in Connecticut, US. It ends with a film showing her reassembled loom in action. This bookending of the show with the hand weaver's instrument emphasises the traceability of material, the possibilities of making with its various stages of change. Albers talks in her writing about material possibilities of speculation, the slow physical realisation of work. She describes herself as being led by thread, as "an active process, ... a listening for the dictation of the material and a taking in of the laws of harmony." For Albers, who titled later work "the event of the thread", weave set ideas in motion as a way of questioning and conceptualising our being present in the world. This major exhibition at the Tate Modern, London, is without question the event both of the thread and of Albers, compelling in its colour, intensely realised through complex weave structures, multiple grids, meandering lines and layered surfaces. In what is remarkably the first major showing of Albers's work, the exhibition draws attention to the overlooked contribution of women artists and of applied artistic practice, both historically relegated as subsidiary to the fine arts. It reclaims the importance of women's practice through the subject of the groundbreaking artist Albers, (who as a woman was directed into weave at the Bauhaus) but also in the curatorial team, Ann Coxon at the Tate, Briony Fer University of London and Maria MullerSchareck at the Kunstsaammlung NordrheinWestfalen. The exhibition is informed from a female view, showing the multi-faceted and interconnected nature of Albers's practice, her theoretical thinking, teaching, writing, collecting, designing and making. Albers can be seen as a revolutionary thinker, her writing sits alongside her weaving as importantly testing established thought.