The TextielMuseum used the Bauhaus’ 100-year anniversary as an opportunity to invite four artists to produce new pieces for the museum’s collection in the TextielLab. Saskia Noor van Imhoff, Krijn de Koning, Marijn van Kreij and Koen Taselaar used the high- and low-tech possibilities in the TextielLab to shape their ideas, which were inspired by the Bauhaus.
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Marijn van Kreij
In 1928, Gunta Stölzl wove one of her most famous tapestries, 5 Chöre. For Marijn van Kreij, this tapestry, or to be precise, reproductions of it and her design sketches, formed the basis of this collection commission. He took an existing image as his starting point and continued to work on it. “When studying and reproducing such an image, differences naturally arise,” he said of this approach. “It is a form of ‘editing’ someone else’s work. Consciously or unconsciously, you leave things out or change the colours. These differences and variations create the opening or thinking space I’m looking for. Because I took fragments from 5 Chöre and repeated them in different ways in my designs, an exercise arises that hopefully evokes the same kind of space or delay.” He used a computer to reproduce the fragments of cloth, including their irregularities. He was particularly interested in the sense of rhythm and colour in the original and the effective use of the different weaves. The fabric was also used for cushion covers, a reference to the Bauhaus ideal of eliminating the boundary between fine and applied art.
For this commission, Koen Taselaar took his inspiration from the centuries-old Bayeux Tapestry as well as more recent textile stories. His subject is the history of the Bauhaus from 1919 to 1933, from the early esoteric, experimental and exuberant years to the later period that increasingly revolved around architecture and functionalism. He drew on narrative mediaval rugs but also incorporated elements from the visual language of contemporary comics or games. He usually draws his images, building these up from lines. In weaving, however, he noted that the image is largely determined by the colours and adapted his drawing accordingly. The result is a riot of shades and materials that tumble over each other in this playful rug titled A slightly inaccurate but nonetheless lightly entertaining story of the Bauhaus.
Taselaar enjoyed resisting the modernity of the Bauhaus, which rejected ornament as a feature in itself. He injected this beautiful epic with humour, contrariness and a spontaneous drawing style. For example, fumes from the garlic-rich diet prescribed by Johannes Itten can be seen enveloping a playful figure from Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (1922).
Saskia Noor van Imhoff
Saskia Noor van Imhoff often brings together apparently random objects in an associative way. The installation #+38.00 comprises a large rug that at first glance appears to be graphic in design, surrounded by arbitrarily shaped stones and copies of stones.
She took inspiration from the modernist Meisterhäuser by Walter Gropius from 1925-26 and the nature surrounding another functionalist building, the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, California, by architect Richard Neutra from 1946. She brings together natural and artificial elements, whereby she constructs, deconstructs and copies different layers. The architecture is converted from 3D to 2D, the appearance is inverted, reversed, zoomed in or out, highlighting a different meaning and creating a new perception. The colours correspond with the legends of archaeological sites. The artist is interested in the fact that during archaeological excavations objects that were preserved by chance are ‘objectively’ reconstructed. The size of the rug also refers to the system of standardised paper sizes; the A series has its origins in the Bauhaus. When viewing the installation, every element plays a role. Van Imhoff draws an analogy with the memory: your personal observation, knowledge and memory imbue a subject with meaning.
Krijn de Koning
The engine room of Chr. Mommers’ former 19th-century wool factory, now the TextielMuseum, is the setting for this site-specific installation by artist Krijn de Koning. De Koning is fascinated with the way in which architectural spaces can be experienced. He makes site-specific work in existing places and within existing contexts. His interventions influence a space. By adding a soft carpet to a ‘hard’ functional engine room, where a flywheel cleaves the floor, he creates a discrepancy between functionality and art. He said of the Bauhaus: “In that special period in the 20th century, boundaries were radically pushed, which greatly increased the possibilities of art. Important in this regard was the confluence of art, architecture and design, the development of abstract art, the relationship between art and society and – what especially inspired me – the inclusion of the environment/place in the artworks. These are all elements I have incorporated in my piece for the museum.”
Coincidence determined the colours in the rugs. De Koning used remnants from the tufting workshop, the availability of which determined the size of each coloured section.