My visit to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin
I decided to spend spring break 2013 in Berlin, Germany.
On March 13, 2013, I spent the day alone and explored Berlin on my own.
It was very important for me to visit this museum at this moment in my life, I think. Being so close to the work created by art pioneers that I admire so much, made my knees shake a bit, seeing their work in person impacted me, but more importantly, being in the place where it all happened in Berlin, is what was important. Seeing work created by Bauhaus artists at the MOMA seems a bit out of context for me, being in Berlin however, and walking through the Holocaust memorial, being faced with its rich history, gave me an eye opening perspective on the work that came out of the Bauhaus, and how it all happened because of environment, and time. What I admire so much about the Bauhaus, was that all departments, at one point or another, collaborated with one another, artists such as Gertrud Arndt, Paul Klee, Laszlo Moholy Nagy, Herbert Bayer, (few examples), didn’t constrain themselves to one medium, or one area of focus. The work that came out of the Bauhaus left a permanent imprint on design/ art world, not because of the “institution”, but because of the collaboration, and communication that sparked amongst the artists, which was a response to the times they were currently living in.
I’ve always been drawn to the fiber arts, specifically the traditional process of creating a textile on a loom. Fiber arts, and the production of textiles has always been considered “women’s work”. Immediately when I walked into the museum, the first exhibition I saw was dedicated to Gertrud Arndt, a female pioneer of the Bauhaus. The hundreds of self portraits that she took of herself, that she insisted on not showing until the early two thousands, were now framed and mounted, in a room dedicated solely to her work, breathtaking. This exhibition showed many of her preliminary sketches of many of her rug designs, as well as the final woven pieces. All of her sketches, and drawings for rug designs, had an underlying grid structure, the process of creating a wall piece, or a rug, doesn’t limit itself to fiber, her sketches are often paintings in water color and gouache, as well as pen and ink, all over a grid structure. Seeing a preliminary sketch, with yarn samples attached to it, and next to it the final woven textile, shows the beautiful process of textile production, a process which has been mostly replaced my mechanical reproduction. I can’t ignore the link I see between graphic design and textile arts. Graphic Design, being a field whose pioneers are mostly men, combined with textile design which is known as “women’s work”, creating a mesh between the two is something i’m currently exploring in my work.