The work of Anni and Josef Albers arrives in Valencia
23 Feb 2022 /

The work of Anni and Josef Albers arrives in Valencia

The exhibition Anni and Josef Albers. Art and life – which can be visited from 24 February at the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM) – assembles for the first time in Spain, and together, the paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, furniture, glass pieces and jewellery of this singular pair of creators. A total of almost 350 works, some of which have never been seen before, illustrate the work of both artists across their careers.

According to the regional government secretary for culture and sport, Raquel Tamarit, “with this powerful exhibition we align ourselves at the IVAM within the setting of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 programme. It is one of the most important events on the schedule of our internationally renowned modern museum this year and we believe it will be a major source of attraction for visitors. It is, moreover, an example of our international cooperation with other museums, in this case with the Musée dArt Modern de Paris (MAM)”.

From the Bauhaus to abstraction, this exhibition curated by Julia Garimoth brings together 350 works that provide an overview of the art and life of two great artists.

The show brings the public closer to the fruitful relationship of Anni and Josef Albers and to the permanent exchange brought about by their living together throughout their artistic life. The two artists managed to break the stereotypes of design and art understood as independents spheres; even the roles between the two, as husband and wife, were affected at a time, the nineteen-twenties, and in a place, the Bauhaus, where everything was possible,” added Tamarit.

On the one hand, Josef Albers (1888-1976), painter, designer and teacher; on the other, Anni Albers (1899-1994), textile artist, printmaker, designer and art theorist. Although they worked independently, it was the intimacy and complicity of their relationship that enabled them, throughout their careers, to support and encourage each other mutually after meeting in 1922 at the Bauhaus School in Weimar.

In the words of the director of the IVAM, Nuria Enguita, “the exhibition pays special attention to the connections between the two artists in the different periods of their careers, highlighting both their recurring motifs and ideas and their experimental creations.”

Xavi Calvo (director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022) has valued the fact that the exhibition is a great conversation between art and design. “It represents the best illustration of how design was able to change an era, how it arose to make life easier for us, how the relationship of a couple wove connections between their works and how the Bauhaus generated foundations for us which are still valid today. It is a luxury to have this collection in Valencia. To be able to see it and admire it and find connections between our designs and those of a century ago.”

Anni and Josef Albers conceived design as part of a program in which the aesthetic and the functional, art and the world, aesthetics and life, are inseparable.

This show brings together some of the exceptional large-format wall hangings made by Anni, including the singular With verticals, and the abstract series Homage to the square’ produced by Josef from 1950 onwards, together with their stained-glass windows, collages, furniture and graphic designs. The majority of the works belong to the Anni and Josef Albers Foundation, as well as institutions such as the Josef Albers Museum Quadrat, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and individuals who have lent pieces.

Nuria Enguita has gratefully acknowledged the special collaboration of the Anni and Josef Albers Foundation and the Fundación Banco Sabadell in the project, also recalling that the exhibition forms part of the official programme of World Design Capital Valencia 2022.

In this respect, Enguita explains that Anni and Josef Albers saw design as part of a programme in which the aesthetical and the functional, art and the world, aesthetics and life, are inseparable. Their commitment with an art for life also incorporated the knowledge of ancestral cultures, relegated to the side-lines, decolonizing the western canon. At a time when imagination about the future seems unable to propose a better horizon, the artistic and teaching practices of Anni and Josef Albers are today an essential example.”