To Open Eyes
Art and
Textiles from the Bauhaus
to Today
17 11 13
02 03 14

In anticipation of Bielefeld’s 800th anniversary as home to the linen weaving industry, the Kunsthalle will present an exhibition about textiles in art. By the Bauhaus period, at the latest, textile works of art had long lost their status as a mere handicraft. Carpets and tapestries were no longer considered simply the product of manual labor, but creations requiring cognitive and conceptual abilities. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the spectrum of artistic approaches to textiles ranges from the study of ornamental, non-European art to explorations of color, to the questioning of material qualities, and the ironic or critical handling of fabric and weaving. Beginning with woven works based on paintings by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and fabric designs by Sonia Delaunay, one focus of the exhibition is on tapestries, fabric patterns, and designs by artists from the Bauhaus, especially by Anni Albers, who was a close friend of Philip Johnson’s, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld’s architect, who admired her work very much. Another special focus of the show is on the Bauhaus student, Benita Koch-Otte, who spent twenty years of her life as the director of the weaving department at the Bodelschwingh Foundation in Bielefeld. Thanks to the generous support of the Historische Sammlung Bethel, her estate will be made available here to a wider public for the first time. The works on display range from textile works of art from the 1960s and ‘70s—including works by Blinky Palermo, Alighiero e Boetti, and Sigmar Polke—to works by contemporary artists such as Olaf Nicolai, Aiko Tezuka, and Erzen Shkololli, who have rediscovered the “craft” of textiles for themselves, re-examining it and experimenting with new forms of expression. A catalogue will be published by Kerber (price at Museum: 29 euros).

The exhibition is sponsored by the Kunststiftung NRW, the Kulturstiftung pro Bielefeld and Delius Textiles.