Tag Archives: Loewe Gran Vía

Lucia Moholy at the Bauhaus

On the occasion of the first exhibition featuring the work of photographer Lucia Moholy in Madrid as part of PHotoEspaña, the LOEWE FOUNDATION organised this month of June the highly attended LOEWE Talk “Lucia Moholy at the Bauhaus”. Architect Belén Moneo and exhibition curator María Millán exposed the public to the aesthetics and philosophy of the legendary school and to the artists Moholy photographed and lived with.

Anni Albers, 1927

The Bauhaus, founded by architect Walter Gropius in 1919, was set up as a centre for craftsmanship, architecture and design to come together. One of the school’s objectives was to design and produce unique utilitarian objects for use in daily modern life. When Lucia Moholy arrived at the Bauhaus in 1923, photography was not part of the school’s curriculum. Using a very personal and innovative style, she devoted herself to documenting the daily activities taking place in the workshops and the designs and objects that were being created.

All students had to take mandatory courses on colour theory, materials, drawing and other subjects meant to prepare them for the more specialised workshops. The Bauhaus was the first art school to accept women. However, equality was not applied across the board and women were not allowed to take certain classes.

Such was the case of artist Anni Albers, who was barred from the architecture and glass workshops and was advised to defer to weaving. She had the good fortune of working with Gunta Stölz in 1923 becoming one of the workshop’s top students and eventually the school’s weaving director, a post she held until 1932, when the Dessau Bauhaus was closed. Anni Albers and her husband Josef Albers moved to the US in 1933 where they pursued teaching and worked on personal projects. In 1951, the MOMA organised an exhibition of Anni’s work, which then toured the US for two years, establishing Anni Albers as one of the most important textile artists of the 20th century.

Florence Henri, 1927

Florence Henri, who began her artistic career as a painter, had a similar experience. During the time she spent at the Bauhaus in 1927, she lived with László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy, who shared with her their passion for photography and taught her some basic techniques. Although photography was not yet taught at the school, the couple encouraged her to experiment with the camera and to continue her work in this field. A year after leaving the Bauhaus, Florence Henri opened a studio in Paris establishing herself as a professional photographer.

The LOEWE exhibition, “Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later”, invites the public to learn about the people in the portraits. Lucia Moholy was a pioneer of modern photography, and so were the photographed artists in their individual fields of expertise. An absolute must.

Lucia Moholy, A Hundred Years Later. Until 28th August at LOEWE’s Gran Vía 8 store in Madrid [Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and Holidays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.]

Photographs: Anni Albers, 1927. Florence Henri, 1927.The Bauhaus Archive. Courtesy Fotostiftung Schweiz. Curator, María Millán.

 

The voices of Elena Medel and María Gómez Lara

Elena Medel wore black. María Gómez Lara chose a dress full of colours and a big green flower decorated her hair. They both belong to the same generation but their poetic voices are as different as their clothes, perhaps because a full ocean separates these two women. Medel, from Córdoba (Spain), reads her verses with a meticulous voice, full of rhythm, keeping her eyes on the book. Colombian poet Gómez Lara sways on her chair as pouring her strong voice which brings some anxiety to the room and tries to reach the gaze of the audience. Both of them, as different as they may seem, have been awarded with the 26th and 27th LOEWE FOUNDATION International Poetry Award for Young Poets, respectively.

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The LOEWE store at Gran Vía Street, in Madrid, hosted an evening of poetry reading bringing together two different ways of understanding and writing poems. “Poetry as a gaze to the world, not as a literary genre”, explained Medel. Gómez Lara, as soon as she started to read her work, said: “I am very happy that we write so differently and still we can enjoy poetry together”. These two women arose as poets from different referents.

Elena Medel remembered the women who shaped her personality (mother and grandmother) and read some poems she wrote still in her teens –Mi primer bikini– and also, among others, those written after her reflections on death. “My book Tara changed after my grandmother died”, explained Elena as she recited her poems on the multiple faces of love and loss.

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Poets like Emily Dickinson, the many heteronyms of Fernando Pessoa, her many changes of address and other personal experiences came out in the verses of María Gómez Lara. She read an unpublished poem recently inspired by the unpleasant weather of Boston, where she lives now. “I am from the Tropics: cold weather makes me sad”, she said. Years ago, when hurricane Sandy kept her hidden in her bathroom overnight, María wrote a poem titled “Conjuro”, which she also read.

“A poem -said Elena Medel- can be inside a novel, an essay, or a stage play”. Poems go beyond words and reach the readers. For María Gómez Lara, “To know that whatever you write alone has an impact on other people, is very nice”.

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Photographs: Elena Medel and María Gómez Lara with Sheila Loewe © Daniel Mordzinski para FUNDACIÓN LOEWE, 2015.

John Allen, the emotion of colours

The wise and relaxed conversation between John Allen and journalist Anatxu Zabalbeascoa -leading the LOEWE Talks titled A bag is a landscape– inundated recently the emblematic LOEWE store in Gran Vía, Madrid, and the Galería LOEWE in Barcelona. Using the patterns previously created by British knitter and master weaver John Allen, Jonathan Anderson -LOEWE’s Creative Director- has designed a new collection. Allen’s flat drawings -created to be hung on the walls, as carpets- have developed into accessories. “I couldn’t imagine my designs as three-dimmensional objects”, said Allen. Besides beach towels and totes, Allen’s colours have reached wallets, key-rings or espadrilles. The John Allen Collection, with British landscapes drifting towards abstraction, reveal the understanding between Allen and Anderson. “We trusted each other”, explains Allen. “It was like giving him my baby”.

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Designer, craftsman, weaver… Allen does not care what other people call him. “I see myself as an artist, but that could seem very pretentious. I generate ideas for others”, he insists with remarkable humbleness. Moreover, he gets inspired “from everything” but his main creative source is colour. “Colours make me emotional, it´s about pushing boundaries”, he says. But as an artistic tool, explains Allen, “colour cannot be taught, we cannot learn to enjoy colours”. Allen has taught at the Royal College of Art, whose knitting department he also founded, until his retirement in 1989.

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John Allen is an expert in reinventing himself, and he admits to keep certain “freshness” towards his work, perhaps emphasised by “having been working with younger people for so long”. “People never chase, never move on”, he complains. “I am somebody whose attitude has changed over the years. I am a man of the future”. When Zabalbeascoa asked him how we will perceive this collection in the next years, Allen was lost in thought, as if thinking ahead. Then he smiled and said: “I think it will age quite well”. Among all his works, Falling Leaves is “my favourite design I have ever done”. That’s why he carries his bag everywhere, because -he laughs- everytime somebody stops and says, ‘Oh! Where is that great bag from?’”.

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Photographs: Cornish Harbour beach towel and canvas Falling Leaves duffle, John Allen Collection Spring Summer 2015 © LOEWE, 2015. LOEWE Talks A bag is a landscape with John Allen and Anatxu Zabalbeascoa at Galería LOEWE in Barcelona © Yolanda Muelas for LOEWE, 2015.

The Human Factor In Artistic Jewellery

“The best objects are those made by craftsmen who have taken pleasure in creating them.” This was written over a century ago by William Morris, the Arts & Crafts ideological British designer, and adopted by Barcelona-born jeweller Ramón Puig Cuyàs (1953). The goldsmith’s brooches can be admired in Madrid, in Loewe’s 26 Serrano Street store until the end of April. The ideas that make these “timeless pieces always seem new” – to quote Jonathan Anderson, the brand’s Artistic Director – were discussed by the jeweller himself last Thursday in the legendary Madrid Gran Via store.

6The fact that an idea that is almost as old as Loewe’s first store –the location chosen by the Loewe Foundation to organise this second conversation- should still be current, summarises what the brand and the goldsmith were trying to transmit. The dialogue “The human factor in today’s creations” was, in fact, a live interview (journalist Anatxu Zabalbeascoa posed the questions) and a plea in favour of “creation with content” like the work produced by the Catalan goldsmith, who thanks to Anderson’s keen eye, was discovered by almost everyone in the audience.

Puig Cuyàs corroborated that it is only when one knows the past that one may form the necessary criteria to look to the future. The jeweller discussed the non-conformist component of jewellery, remembering that in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War it was artisans who tried new materials, not only because they lacked resources, but also to disassociate themselves from the so-called “ jewels of the black market”. As a direct consequence, and as would later also occur after World War II, a jewel was no longer about the precious metals it was made out of, but rather about artistic creation. That was how Puig identified the difference between jewels with material value, “designer” jewellery, and the few pieces that seek “to give shape to the occult” and that consequently traipse the quicksand that leads to art.

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We are the society that has amassed the largest number of objects. Also the one that feels the least attached to its possessions. As such, we have lost the memories associated with our belongings. In addition to being unsustainable, this situation shows us in a very unfavourable light. For that reason, when facing the challenge of digitalisation – and the inevitable and ongoing disappearance of the numerous objects that technology has done away with – Ramón Puig Cuyàs spoke in favour of the fundamental –and not anecdotal- importance of the ornament as imprint, memory and creation.

What Jonathan Anderson wanted to showcase, Loewe’s cultural heritage, Puig summarised as honesty, authority and truth applied to any creation. This belief in the importance of the content allowed the jeweller to defend imperfection as a personal and never ending vocabulary, as opposed to the almost mathematical language of perfection. We may draw from another Arts & Crafts artist to summarise the dialogue of opposites (chaos and order, serious and entertaining, heavy and light) captured in Puig’s latest brooches. “There is hope in honest error. None in icy perfection.” These words were coined by the architect Charles R. Mackintosh, but they could very well have been first pronounced by Puig, who closed by defending the power of his brooches as “gender-free ornaments able to broaden identities.”

Jewells that break down barriers, brooches that need the body as a frame, or as a pedestal; useful art and creation with substance. All this is can be seen in the collection of brooches that summarise the work that goldsmith and painter Ramón Puig Cuyàs has produced over the past 40 years. This was explained during the second conversation organised by the Loewe Foundation. Jewellery as art and the brooch as a vehicle that broadens one’s identity.

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Photographs: Loewe Talks, Ramón Puig Cuyàs y Anatxu Zabalbeascoa at the Loewe Store in Gran Vía, Madrid. Brooches, Ramón Puig Cuyàs. Until the end of April 2015 [Monday to Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays and holidays: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.]