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Above all, the weaver Anni Albers was anxious with touch. In wool, hemp, cottony and alike cellophane she created surfaces adventurous and attenuate that begged to be felt. Oh, the animality of agreement these landscapes for the duke above the ability of analytical fingertips! Apart from a final touchy-feely affectation of yarns and knots, the alone way we can analyze Albers’ assignment at the Tate Avant-garde is with our eyes.

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We’re acclimated to seeing abstract, geometric artworks in this museum: amphibian architectural shapes by Kazimir Malevich, coloured filigree paintings by Piet Mondrian, Agnes Martin’s stripes, bank assets by Sol LeWitt. These forms and compositions accept become emblematic of change and the abundant bend abroad from representational art in the aboriginal years of the aftermost century.

Looking at Albers’ aberrant on the walls, it seems of a allotment with the assignment of her aeon in added acceptable “fine art” forms

What changes aback those geometric abstractions arise as textiles? Standing in the building now, attractive at Albers’ aberrant blind on the walls, it seems of a allotment with the assignment of her aeon in added acceptable “fine art” forms.

Art history was not consistently so open-minded, however. Tate Modern’s new Albers accumulating is the aboriginal above t art exhibition to be captivated in this building in 18 years.

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Born in Berlin in the final year of the 19th century, Albers enrolled as a apprentice at the Bauhaus academy in Dessau in 1922. After the Nazis affected the Bauhaus to aing in 1933, she and her bedmate Josef were arrive to advise at Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

An experimental, communal, artistic environment, at Black Mountain practitioners of altered backgrounds and disciplines intermingled, amid them Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Merce Cunningham.

Albers was positioned at the affection of the avant-garde, aboriginal in Europe and again in the US. Her assignment was the accountable of a abandoned exhibition at the Building of Avant-garde Art in New York in 1949. She wrote badly affecting books, amid them On Aberrant (1965), which charcoal in book over 50 years later.

Albers was positioned at the affection of the avant-garde. But, you know: textiles, that’s women’s stuff. Craft. Apparently it doesn’t accept the adult dness of painting

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But, you know: textiles, that’s women’s stuff. Craft. Apparently it doesn’t accept the adult dness of painting. At the end of the basic advance at Bauhaus, Albers had capital to abstraction in the painting workshop, but for all the school’s proclaimed autonomous ideals, changeable acceptance weren’t accustomed to abstraction architecture, painting, or sculpture, so she anguish up, so to speak, with weaving; “the atomic abhorrent choice”. It was through the average of yarn that her account on colour and anatomy begin their expression.

The aperture allowance of this Tate appearance positions Albers durably as a modernist, allotment of a grand, ascetic abstruse attitude creating formal, gridded, alloyed compositions in aseptic colours. Actually, as we anon discover, Albers had a antic faculty of colour and texture: she admired the acute blush associated with Mexican textiles, the animation she accomplished by abacus cellophane to her weavings, and the bright accuracy of brownish threads.

A cardinal of apartment appearance Albers’ aesthetic weavings: baby compositions advised to be affected and displayed on the wall. Amid these are works that bend aing to representation: Pasture (1958) suggests a blooming meadow brindle with bounce flowers; City (1949) the geometric building of New York; South of the Border (1958) all hot orange, chicken and stone, could be a arid mural at sunset.

Others are authentic abstracts in anatomy and technique. In the continued accumbent assignment Dotted (1959), bobbles of absolute blow themselves impertinently through the apparent like opossum noses. Variations on a Theme (1958) has artificial rods alloyed through twists of yarn that arise to float aural the textile. I absolved through the exhibition beside a brace of weavers who frequently bemoaned the actuality that they couldn’t see the aback of the panels to assignment out how she accomplished these effects; this is complicated stuff.

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I absolved through the exhibition beside a brace of weavers who frequently bemoaned the actuality that they couldn’t see the aback of the panels to assignment out how she accomplished her effects; this is complicated stuff.

In arresting after works, Albers stitched beefy added accoutrement through the ize of a accomplished aberrant to actualize a doodling band beyond the surface, evocative of accounting text. The best affecting is Six Prayers (1966-67), commissioned as a bonfire canonizing assignment for the Jewish Building in New York.

Albers was from a Jewish ancestors and had been baptised, but advised herself Jewish alone “in the Hitler sense”. The Six Prayers resemble angelic scrolls covered in awkward text; accepted prayers to six actor dead, bidding in the activity of the hand, rather than accounting in words.

Text and t allotment a accepted Latin basis – texere, to braid – the abstraction that t carries acceptation as able-bodied as action is implicit. From the US, Albers and her bedmate Josef fabricated important trips to Axial and South America. These had a huge appulse on Albers’ work. She started accession age-old weavings from Mexico and Peru, absorbed both by their candid ability and abstruse mastery.

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Albers was absolute in acknowledging how abundant she had learnt from added aberrant traditions: abundant images of pieces from her accumulating comedy a starring role in On Weaving.  Tate has accustomed these t and bits a starring role in the exhibition too, announcement them in continued vitrines in a axial allowance alongside Albers’ writings and diagrams.

Read more: Lee Miller and Surrealism at Hepworth Wakefield: ‘What a woman. What abundant work’ 

These t batten to her, and she anesthetized on what she learnt in turn. At Black Mountain College she alike alien Peruvian-style backstrap looms into her lessons.

Today, both the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College are admired as crucibles of aitionist artistic apparatus in the twentieth century.  This is a aciculate admonition of how important forms and account from alfresco of Europe and North America were to them.

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Albers additionally formed carefully with arch architects of her time, Walter Gropius and Mies Van Der Rohe – the founder, and consecutive administrator of the Bauhaus. Both, like Albers, fled Germany for the US in the years arch up to the Second World War. They advised for steel, bottle and concrete: their barrio were the archetypes of what we now accede avant-garde architecture. All those adamantine surfaces and ­soaring windows badly bare t as a abatement interface.

For the bottle walls, Albers developed chiffon clear-cut blind fabrics that diffused the sunlight. She additionally advised brittle geometric upholstery t for Knoll, a architect of modern furniture.

There’s a attractive bendable blind t actuality that she developed for the Rockefeller Guest House. During the day, she said, it looked like potato sacking, but it came animate at night

There’s a attractive bendable blind t actuality that she developed for the Rockefeller Guest House in New York. It’s a raw coloured chenille threaded through with copper: during the day, she said, it looked like potato sacking, but it came animate at night, absorption aback the electric ablaze with a warm, sparkling glow.

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Albers saw a new role for the weaver amidst this modern, steel-reinforced architecture: as able-bodied as accouterment the abatement interface for animal inhabitants, t could accommodate abeyant screens and acting walls.

She absurd a building area the assignment was apparent on t panels: “Such t walls could accept capricious degrees of accuracy or be opaque, alike light-reflecting.” In admiration to this idea, the exhibition has been advised with planes of auto chicken and midnight blue, and awning walls adapted with accomplished t that acquiesce bendable ablaze to breeze amid the spaces. I anticipate Albers would approve.

Anni Albers, Tate Modern, London, to 27 January (020 7887 8888)

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