Bauhaus anno - 100 years of life in thematically
1. Bauhaus was an art and design school founded in 1919 in Weimar which operated later on in Dessau and Berlin until 1933. It’s full German name was Staatliche Bauhaus, „State Building House”. 2. Bauhaus was an indeed unconventional school. It’s logical program, transition between different fields of study, combination of theory and practice in the curriculum, direct contact between lecturers and students made it special and unique at its time. Students had the possibility to try themselves out in a number of various fields of study before choosing one as a concentration. This methodology became a norm of numerous schools in the 20th century. 3. Bauhaus functioned as a true talent pool. School founder Walter Gropius had a good sense of choice at finding colleagues to teach. The Russian Wassily Kandinsky, the Hungarian László Moholy-Nagy, Swiss Paul Klee, German Ludwig Mies van der Rohe taught at the school for a shorter or longer period of time. Among the workshop leaders we can also find world famous characters such as the Hungarian Marcel Breuer architect-designer or the Austrian Herbert Bayer. 4. ABauhaus was innovative in various fields of design or could it unfold results of current innovations. Herbert Bayer created here Bauhaus’ universal typography – with no upper case, so did Marcel Breuer his lightweight tubular-steel frames furniture design and Gunta Stölzl experimentalized here with synthetic fabrics in his workshop. 5. First thing that comes to one’s mind for Bauhaus is the school building in Dessau. Financed by the city it was finished in 1926-27 and in its functionality, material choices, mass formation and construction was such a pioneer that it looks like even today as if it was just inaugurated yesterday. As an icon of the 20th century modern architecture the building was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996. 6. Although architecture studies started only in 1927 at Bauhaus school, it had the utmost importance in this field. Bauhaus continued the heritage of the pre-World War functional design and became the lead institution of „matter-of-fact” architecture. Architects spread the fame of the school from the US to Tel-Aviv. 7. Cradle of 20th century design is also Bauhaus, where we can find the roots of numerous innovations. The experimental school also influenced theatre, photography, film and even music. 8. The operation of the school was banned in 1933. László Moholy-Nagy tried to re-open it in 1937 in Chicago. Bauhaus-Archive treasures the richest collection of documents and artifacts related to the school, such as the heritage of Walter Gropius. In Weimar the school taken over by Gropius still operates under the name Bauhaus-Universität since 1996. 9. Bauhaus soon became a brand name as a synonym of simple forms, colours, puritan and functional approach. „Bauhaus” became an undisputed attribute in architecture, interior design, design and even in graphic design. When it comes to branding the best example is the German do it yourself store Bauhaus founded in 1960, that has nothing to do with the school (according to the official reasoning the name originates from the name of the founder, Heinz-Georg Baus). 10. Centenary of Bauhaus is celebrated worldwide in 2019. New museums are to be opened in Weimar and Dessau, the opening of the archive in Berlin is delayed and shall only be opened in 2022. Bauhaus Imaginista exhibition aims to map the influence of the school in Japan, Brazil and Moscow. Budapest100 joins the celebration by research and showcase of the values of the capital’s modern architecture. +1. Bauhaus is not a style-name, but also not only the umbrella of ideologies. It became a word commonly used as a synonym for modernity. Although this may be false from the perspective of architecture history, but it is not without precedent. „Baroque” was only used for music for centuries. „Stile Liberty” is the Italian equivalent of secession after the pioneer British interior design store Liberty & Co.. So when it comes to terminology, you are probably wrong, but no one would ever hurt you if you say: this building is so „bauhaus”. How shall I find more on Bauhaus? You can fill up full libraries with Bauhaus. In Hungarian we recommend the books of Nóra Pamer, Éva Bajkay, Krisztina Passuth and András Ferkai. On the occasion of the centenary, Bauhaus100 magazin has been launched – also in English and German, where you can also find the most important events.
Budapest, 19.12.2018. Dániel Kovács, art historian
Cover page: Masters of Bauhaus in Dessau. Top row from the left: Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy; next row: Josef Albers, Gunta Stölzl, Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky, Herbert Bayer and Hinnerk Scheper. Photo: Reinhardt Friedrich, 1926. Photo source: BAUHAUS-ARCHIV BERLIN
The question is valid. We already know that the 100-year old Bauhaus was an art and design school in Germany. But why is that important to us? Bauhaus had numerous Hungarian students, talented and less successful ones. Some of them were successful abroad, others returned to Hungary to spread the knowledge about the movement. Why were there so many Hungarians in Bauhaus? This is related to the special historical and social situation of Hungary following the First World War. After the unfavourable political situation in 1919, the Trianon Treaty of the First World War, and the takeover of power by governor Miklós Horthy, there was no space for progressive artists in Hungary. Public life and universities became conservative. The „numerus clausus” law (put into force in 1920) limited the number of Jewish students in the universities. Many were not able to enter the Faculty of Architecture of the Technical University, still, they were informed about the big changes going on in Germany. Ms. Margit Téry, (following Johannes Itten, the first professor of Bauhaus from Switzerland) joined Bauhaus already in the first college year. She was followed by Gyula Pap and Marcel Breuer (the latter invited by Fred Forbát, working in Gropius’s studio) in 1920 and they were joined by a significant number of people from Pécs: Farkas Molnár, Hugó Johan, Henrik (Szelle) Stefan, Andor Weininger. László Moholy-Nagy worked in Bauhaus between 1922-1928, until Walter Gropius left. Furthermore, Otti Berger and Marcel Breuer were teachers of the school, while the critic Ernő Kállai, edited the Bauhaus journal in 1928-29.
Farkas Molnár: Red cube-house. Mock-up by Margit Pelényi (2009) Photo source: BAUHAUS-ARCHIV BERLINThe reputation of Bauhaus was spread by personal relations in the beginning. Later, the effective propaganda and the well-known masters brought more and more new students. The school was a pioneer having a great number of women among its students. Only to name a few: Ms. Etel Fodor and Masa Baranyai in 1929, Zsuzsanna Bánki in 1930, finally, in 1931 Irén Blüh and Zsuzsa Markos-Ney attended the Bauhaus school. People around Bauhaus transmitted the Bauhaus-idea in many ways towards Hungary. Farkas Molnár became the head of CIRPAC (group of progressive architects) and cooperated with Marcel Breuer who returned to Hungary as well. Etel Fodor and his German husband, Ernst Mittag moved back to Pécs, they’ve built the first Bauhaus family house there. Fred Forbát was also working in Pécs in the years 1933-1938. Zsuzsanna Bánki opened his design studio in Győr. Sándor Bortnyik, active in Weimar between 1922-1925, established his free art school in Budapest called „Műhely” (workshop) in 1928, following Bauhaus philosophy until 1938.
Judit Kárász: Otti Berger with the Bauhaus building, 1931. Photo source: BAUHAUS-ARCHIV BERLINTowards the end of 1930s, many of the Bauhaus followers left the country, those who remained were threatened by World War II. Zsuzsanna Bánki and Otti Berger died in a concentration camp, Farkas Molnár was killed by a bomb. The Bauhaus atmosphere, following World War II, was kept alive by Tibor Weiner, the returning former architecture student, and Gyula Pap, professor of the University of Arts. Where to get more information? The best summary about the subject is the catalogue of the the exhibition „Hungarians in Bauhaus” (2010) organized by the Janus Pannonius Museum and the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, plus there are several publications about the world famous designers László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Breuer.
Budapest, 30.12.2018. Dániel Kovács, art historian
Main image: Andor Weininger: Mechanical stage (after 1923) Photo source: BAUHAUS-ARCHIV BERLIN
Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatia 10 January – 21 April 2019 On the occasion of Bauhaus centenary the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb is organising a multisensory exhibition Josef and Anni Albers: Voyage Inside a Blind Experience. The exhibition is a result of an international cooperation between Atlante Servizi Culturali, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, and l’Istituto dei Ciechi di Milano. Besides Zagreb, exhibition will be shown at Santa Maria della Scala Museum in Siena, and The Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, Ireland. The project VIBE has been co-financed by the Creative Europe Program of the European Commission.
Post source: FACEBOOK [VIBE. Voyage Inside a Blind Experience]The exhibition features 63 works of Josef and Anni Albers, one of the leading pioneers of twentieth-century modernism and key figures in the development of abstract art and art education in the world. Extremely valuable pieces, borrowed from Josef and Anni Albers Foundation (Connecticut, USA), offer a survey of their work spanning from the early studies made in 1920s to oil paintings and graphics from 1960s and 1970s. This is the biggest exhibition dedicated to the famous couple in the region. The exhibition includes pieces from the Josef Albers’ most famous cycle Homage to the Square and some of the textiles by Anni Albers, who always emphasized how textile, both in its functional role and as a wall decoration, should be considered as artistic form. Exhibition is adapted to blind and visually impaired people. All 63 works will be accompanied by the tactile reproductions which will enable visitors to examine them through touch and hearing.
Video source: YOUTUBE [Santa Maria della Scala]“For visitors with visual disabilities, a didactic approach is usually chosen, helping them to recognize artworks by tracing compositional lines using touch. All this is absolutely necessary, but by exploring the potentials of those same lines, freed from a merely figurative approach and developing a compositional and stylistic understanding, whit a little help, it is possible, to come near to an experience that can be called aesthetic. This experience will be accompanied by multisensory criteria and the staff will be trained in the fields of design and management of inclusive visits. In this sense, each visitor will be introduced to an exploration of the work that goes beyond the usual visual or didactic approach. It will also be possible to experience darkness through the creation of a dark room that will allow for sensitive, cognitive and parallel exercises. Then there will be the aspect of sharing spaces dedicated to art and the development of participated sensibility: all the visitors will be able to move around and enjoy the place at the same time. The human and emotional interactions that derive from this will be one of the main elements of this project.” Exhibition link: Josef i Anni Albers - putovanje kroz slijepo iskustvo MSU galerija, 10. 1. – 21. 4. 2019. VIBE project: Voyage Inside a Blind Experience
Budapest, 16.02.2019. Nirvana Silnović
Main image: Anni Albers (June 12, 1899 – May 9, 1994), German-American textile artist and printmaker. Photo source: WIKIPEDIA [Gobonobo]