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"woman" Tag


feel the touch, run your hands over it (but don’t)


Friday, February 16, 2018

If you walk into the Stedelijk Base exhibition, set up in the basement of the Stedelijk Museum, you will find yourself immersed in a forest of metal walls. Artworks, design objects and furniture are placed next to each other and sorted by theme or movement, rather than after the usual concept of a timeline.

After a turn to the right and a subsequent turn to the left along the metal walls, the visitor (you) will find himself in the Bauhaus area, where you will immediately lay your eyes on a white, light woolen landscape hanging vertically from the walls. The name of this artwork is reliëfkleed, ‘relief rug’ in English, designed by the studio of the Dutch artist Kitty van der Mijll-Dekker.

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The first thing you will notice is the size of it; a sheer glance couldn’t cover the whole area of the relief rug. Reaching the top of the wall all the way down to the floor, the light beige, almost white color of this reliëfkleed blends wonderfully with the background wall. The rug is made out of differing techniques of weaving and knotting the wool, thus forming intricate geometric patterns.

    The second thing you will notice is related to the name of the relief rug: weaved and knotted, the rug forms an ocean of chunks, blobs and follows an intricate rhythm of geometric pattern.

The relief rug was gifted to the Stedelijk museum in 1936, accompanied by handwritten congratulations of Willem Sandberg. It toured the world exhibitions as part of the Dutch Pavilion in Brussels and Paris, not without receiving several awards. After the success of the relief rug, Kitty van der Mijll Dekker’s studio received invitations from the commissioner of the Queen to design and produce the carpets, wallpaper, bedding and the curtains for the royal provincial house in Maastricht [source].

Even despite her success with the studio, Kitty van der Mijll Dekker and her works are seldom mentioned on the internet. Try googling “relief rug” without attaching her name, you can find hardly any photos.

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The tea-towels are up to date the most well-known product of Kitty van der Mijll-Dekker's weaving studio

Why is it so? In order to understand why the women of Bauhaus were often under-mentioned and forgotten in history and publications, we will look into the history of Bauhaus:

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The Bauhaus school in 1919 in Weimar.

Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in 1919 with the idea of a modern, forward-thinking school in mind. For the first time, uniting real artistic practice and craftsmanship under one roof brings back the necessity for the “neue Baukunst” which translates into ‘a new way to construct’. For this purpose, the Hochschule für bildende Künste (focussing on artistic practice) and the Kunstgewerbeschule (focussing on craftsmanship) in Weimar were merged together [read more here].

The formation of Bauhaus fell simultaneously together with the beginning of the Weimar Republic, in which women gained new rights, amongst which being allowed to vote for the first time and also attending university. Women were more than welcome to attend school at Bauhaus, as stated by Walter Gropius in the beginning. However, more women than men applied for Bauhaus once after it was opened, which lead to a drastic change in Bauhaus’ (and Gropius’) statements.

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Photograph from Bauhaus Archive, with Gunta Stolzl center left

The large number of women at the Bauhaus attracted many forms of criticisms, including the complaints of the teaching bodies of the workshops, who are not used to have women work physically in their workshops. Traditionally, females are not allowed to be “Gesellen” journeyman, which students or rather workers who have completed an apprenticeship in a workshop are called.

      Second, the image of women as artists at that time has been depicted as decorative and rather less professional, in which female works are rather suited for the household, more crafty and seen less functional. Admitting a large number of women could lead to the chances of critics or society decreasing the serious status and idea behind Walter Gropius’ planned pioneer school

[source, in German]

Wanting to set up his Bauhaus as a success, Gropius feared that his school might be denounced as a failure or taken not seriously if admitting so many female students, thus narrowing the admission of female students and setting up an all female class, which merged with the weaving department after a while.

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This is a collection of works produced in the weaving department - google term 'Bauhaus textile afdeling'

    Some female artists entered the school before the change in teaching happened, which lead to the above mentioned restrictions in choosing the departments. Others joined the school after László Moholy-Nagy was appointed head of department, replacing Johannes Itten and his restrictive worldviews towards female artists [x]

Marianne Brandt

    is one of the few female artists who succeed in the metal department, succeeding her male classmates.

The weaving department, which also had few male students, was the space in which most female students were sent to after completing the ‘Vorherige Ausbildung’ our Rietveld Basicyear. Although the weaving department supported the school financially the most, it was seen as ‘less relevant’ or serious by the other departments. Other reasons, such as the philosophy of Johannes Itten towards the gender role or the increasing influence of the national socialists in Germany led towards a more backwards-facing behavior of treating female students than intended.

As a result, many female artists from the school of Bauhaus are under-represented or solely left out in literature or online. The solution would be a step-by-step collection of female Bauhaus artists and their works to make it accessible online for a wider audience, for example an open platforms such as wikipedia.

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In this photo: Gertrudt Arndt, Otti Berger, Benita Koch-Otte

 

Biography Kitty van der Mijll Dekker

Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, born as Catharina Louise on Djokdjakarta (Java) in 1908, was raised as a child in a wealthy art-interested family of Dutch expats in Indonesia. In 1916 at the age of 8, she and her family moved back to Den Hague in the Netherlands. Growing up, Kitty van der Mijll Dekker enjoyed educational travels to Switzerland and the United States. After studying art history in London from 1925-1927, she received private lessons in architecture by Cor Jarens.
In 1929, she attends the vooropleiding of Bauhaus in Dessau and finishes her ‘Gesellenexamen’ in 1931 at the textile factory in Meschke in Rummelsberg, Germany. After receiving her diploma (nr. 66) on April 12th 1932 from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, she returns back to the Netherlands and sets up the weaving studio ‘De Wipstrik’ with her former co-student Greten Fischer-Kähler and Hermann Fischer in Nunspeet. Greten-Fischer leaves the studio after two years, leading to the formation of the name ‘ Handweverij en Ontwerpatelier K.v.D. Mijll Dekker (Hand weaving and design workshop K.v.D. Mijll Dekker).

From 1967 until 1970, she taught at our school, the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. This would be an opportunity to continue research related to school activities

Desire: it will be never reached


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 All people have their own desires whether it is small or big. They try to bring their desires to life; however some people won’t be able to because they are too out of reach. For example some may say they want to fly to the moon, other may wish to be abillionaire. But there are also very realistic desires that cannot become true. These are the ones I want to talk about.

In Korea, there is one traditional job called « Haenyeo », which means « sea-women »; who are traditional Korean woman divers. This job only exists in the southern part of Korea, especially on the islands. Today, more than 5,000 divers still remain on these islands. They are specially strong women. A long time ago in Korea, women could not join the outside, sometimes they even couldn’tgo out their house. Nevertheless, these women not only worked totheir living: they also worked for their peers. They built their own society using their power and refusing men’s help as in the past, so many men who lived on the islands died of deep-sea fishing. Only a few men survived from the strong waves and tough windy weather, so that the women who were left behind had to find a way to survive. These circumstances brought strength and uniqueness

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They only wear swimming suits, goggles and fishing nets. They hold their breath while diving to catch seafood until they are out of breath, which means they are always endangered. Therefore, the women fight for their desires because this will is what gives them the means to catch the widest number of fish; but can also drag them to death. Sometimes, they only want to catch a tiny piece, not even a pearl, but the greed is still their to endanger their lives. only use swimming suits, swimming goggles and fishing nets.

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The ocean is one of the greatest powers of nature, so divers do not wish to earnmillions with their fishing because they say it is too arrogant toward the sea. Humans cannot create te sea – they cannot create animals such as an octopus, a fish,a clam. These are made by the great nature so the humans should be greedy towards it. Therefore, divers want to show their gratitude to the nature so they pray for it to save their lives, and not to earn money. Theyalways have to turn off their greed. Their truedesires. It means that they need to control themselves because surviving is the most important. It looks like theyare fighting between their desires and their lives. Their desires are always related to their lives. At the same time, with death too. When they dive into the ocean, they can see everything but they know there are things they will never be able to catch.

Video of Haenyeo

 I wanted to focus on their desire to catch something they cannot reach. I used eight bamboo, glitter thread and fabrics as my materials. At first, I was inspired by spiders which is a lucky charm in their society. I illustrated the spider with eight bamboo sticks. However, bamboo sticks did not have enough strength to stand still so I decided to add three leather belts to the bottom in order to make it wearable. These gave some strength to the structure, and I really wanted it to be worn on the head as a relation to divers’ shamanism. Women divers usually pray to the great nature, especially to the ’God of the ocean’. They believe that the Gods live above the sky, therefore, the main focus of the head-piece was supposed to be above the head. But I faced problems. The leather belts did not give enough strength to my head-piece. It needed more support in the middle and at the bottom. This was one of the biggest problems of my process.

sketches:

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The first solution to this problem was to give the head-piece some strength in the middle. I made a small precious fabric package and placed it in the middle. I was inspired by the Korean traditional way of wrapping gifts. Usually when Koreans give a precious gift to someone, they wrap it in fabric. It means that the gift is protected from bad things.

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I made an object like that in order to illustrate the desires of the woman divers wrapped in fabric, but it still did not give enough strength to my head-piece. I had to find a way to wear that super heavy and tall head-piece and I realize d that using only my head is not the best way to wear it.

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In addition I wanted to express the feeling of one trying to reach for his breath. In the end I decided to wear it on my shoulders and fasten it to my head with leather belts. As a result when I wear it I feel like I’m choking.

 

<Final results>

 

head_left without_green_net

 

Shape beyond functionality


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shapes contain shapes.

This pipe is a monument.

The company designed the pipe to be feminine. An infinite triangle, with an elitist and delicate exterior shape, but at the same time graphic and geometric. Frail but strong.

A woman.

The pipe contains more shapes in the shape. Pipoo 8 has three shapes. The lower dark trapezium made of briar, the transparent upper part made of acrylic and a black plastic cylinder.

We can admire her. How two different materials become unified shapes that contain inside the black cylinder, making a unity of one strict object. There is no possibility to change it, I must accept how it is.

About 15 cm long, it can become part of your body but you can also compare it to a Bic, looking like something alien.

It’s gorgeous.

This is not a vase. It is Carnival.

The vase contains more shapes in a shape. It has three shapes. A wooden rectangular with sharp edges leaning 8 degrees towards the right. A fluorescent green rectangular with rounded corners made out of cardboard, whereas its centre has a phallic transparent glass.

Mike Kelley once said: “With my work I not only want to reach the most educated viewer, but the most lazy viewer as well”.

About 44 centimeters high. Screaming for attention. One cannot avoid the sight of this illuminating green situation.

It’s a glossy disaster.

The making of Medium Girl


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When DHL delivered the package with the traditional Zeeuws costume to the Bristol Hotel in Athens, Greece, I immediately ripped it open, only to find a stack of different fabrics in various sizes, textures and colours.
I had no idea what to do with these mostly two-dimensional pieces of cloth, what was supposed to go where and how.
This knowledge-gap became the works’ major point: what is the perception of a traditional cultural expression by someone from another country (and in this case I regard the city of Amsterdam as another country in relation to Zeeland as well) grown up in an era where self-examination and focusing on the present and future prevailed over historical awareness and/ or cultural pride.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

In short: a young Danish woman of gigantic proportions who happened to pass by on the streets of Athens was lured into the hotel room, to be dressed and undressed in different combinations by an innocent Greek woman, using the separate elements of the costume to create a whole new image of national identity.

Barbara Visser, Winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (2008) check out her new website.

Medium Girl (1996)
video, 6 x 30′


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