Albers & the Bauhaus, a new exhibition at the Stephen Friedman gallery, London, centres around Josef Alber's drawings, photographs, paintings, design pieces, and glass works made by Albers in the 20's and 30's, highlighting his lesser-known yet incredibly important work in the many years before his much celebrated Homage to the Square paintings.
Unifying craft and art with mechanical manufacturing underpinned the Bauhaus ethos and alongside Alber's work, this exhibition shows works by his influential peers with furniture, objects, and photographs by Marcel Breuer, the ceramicist Otto Lindig, and Marianne Brandt. Highlights include a Bauhaus wallpaper sample book.
It was at the Bauhaus where Josef Albers began his journey in abstraction and geometry, with his pictures in glass. This early exploration of geometry began well before his highly influencial 'Homage to the Square' paintings.
The textile artist/printmaker, Anni Albers, met Josef in 1922 at the Bauhaus, marrying him three years later. After the closure of the school and their move to America in 1933, they travelled frequently to Mexico and throughout the Americas. The abstract art of Latin America becomes hugely influential to Josef and Anni, they were transfixed by their discovery. They returned to Mexico many times over the next 40 years, and traveled to Argentina, Chile and Peru, always searching for antique textiles and ceramics, as well as contemporary pieces by local artisans. They were fascinated by people living in totally different cultures, and at different times, loving the same colors and forms as them - a universal language of art, made up of shapes and forms and colours.
The highlight of this exhibition is the second part... an exploration of Josef and Anni's work produced from the 1940s to 70s. This room features a stunning backdrop of Anni Albers designed wallpaper, and Josef's colour block paintings, with further studies by Anni in gouache on paper. Anni’s ‘E’ patterned bold wallpaper has been recently produced in collaboration with Christopher Farr Cloth. This small collection of works shows the synergies between their work, and their considered use of colour, shapes and forms which are so well recognised today.
Stephen Friedman Gallery Two: 11 Old Burlington Street London W1S 3AQ is open Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 11am - 5pm.