An example of wall art: The student Suse Brand worked with special adhesive methods for sand and experimented with effect pigments from Merck
© Suse Brand
Julia Lansmann found the idea for her project on the island of Rügen as she gazed at the Baltic Sea. Friederike Gurminski was inspired during her walks in the forests of Lower Saxony. Both of them are students of textile design at the time-honored Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle. Every semester, Bettina Göttke-Krogmann, a professor of textile design, assigns them a project on a theme whose treatment is a challenge to their skilled craftsmanship and their imagination alike. "One of the themes is 'Walls,'" she says, pointing to her students' work. "Walls enclose, they exclude, and they create spaces, but they are rarely noticed in themselves."
A combination of art and skilled craftsmanship
The students have carried out the assignment in very different ways. Their work ranges from a rough textile that has been lightly covered with concrete using a spatula (Frauke Maler and Sylvia Riegger) to wallpaper made of a water-soluble non-woven fabric. "I always hated having to scrape off old wallpaper when I moved to a new apartment," says Julia Kortus to explain the idea behind her project, which uses a line from a song by the Hamburg indie rock band "Tomte" — "ich verliere mein antlitz" (losing my countenance).
She randomly shuffled around the letters of the line, typed out this text on a mechanical typewriter, enlarged the letters and printed them out on a non-woven fabric made of polyvinyl alcohol, using gray-black inks specially developed for this purpose. Only the letters that form the line of the song appear in red.
This combination of art and skilled craftsmanship has a long tradition at Burg Giebichenstein. "Our university was modeled on the vocational schools of the 19th century," explains Rector Axel Müller-Schöll. Ever since it was founded in 1915, the university has worked at the interface between skilled craftsmanship and industrial design. During its history it has had many connections with the Bauhaus style.
Today Müller-Schöll, a professor of interior design, makes sure the university provides students with a framework for creativity, skilled craftsmanship, practical utility, and development of their individual personalities. "Later on, our students give more back to society than they have received here," he says. "We develop future opportunities not only for the individual artists and designers but also for the cultural community of a modern society."
In its various training courses for design, the university deliberately cultivates a dialogue with industry. One example is the area of textile design. "My students find work at auto manufacturers as experts in upholstery and coverings, for example," says Bettina Göttke-Krogmann. "And such jobs require people who know how to deal with the latest technologies and materials." Accordingly, some of the designs for the "Wände – Walls" projects were created in cooperation with industrial partners.