The first funding phase of the ‘Bauhaus Today Fund’ financed by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in the scope of the centenary programme ‘Bauhaus 2019’ vividly demonstrates the diversity of contemporary perspectives on the Bauhaus.
Those who reduce the Bauhaus to teapots, tubular steel furniture and white cubes might perpetuate a modern myth, but the Bauhaus would not be the Bauhaus without its essential contribution to modern art and education. As a place that addressed the present through design, the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar was also invariably the point of departure for a complex of artistic activities. Here, not only many of the Bauhaus masters, but also the students, created works of international standing and thus realised a principle of the Bauhaus Manifesto of 1919, according to which ‘excellence’ was to prevail over the ‘imperfect practice of art’.
The aim of the ‘Bauhaus Today Fund’ is to pay tribute to this quality of the Bauhaus as an artistically valuable workshop of the future and, in a certain sense, to critically update it. Funding will be available in two phases for cultural institutions and actors in all areas making a notable artistic contribution to the exploration of the contemporary relevance of the Bauhaus and rendering this visible during the anniversary year 2019.
The following projects will receive a total of 2.1 million euros in funding in the framework of the first funding phase 2017/2018, and vividly demonstrate the diversity of the ideas submitted to date.
Bauhaus-Fotografie reloaded (Bauhaus photography reloaded)
On the relevance of The New Vision in contemporary art
Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences / Faculty of Design
Starting from the creative impulses of the photography of the Bauhaus, the project aims to discover how the innovations of that era can still contribute to the further development of photographic imagery today. The exhibition will explore the topicality of the photography of ‘new objectivity’ by showing positions by international contemporary artists alongside works by the Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy. The exhibition venues are the NRW Forum Düsseldorf, the Kunsthalle Darmstadt / Institut Mathildenhöhe and the Museum für Fotografie, Berlin.
Das Totale Tanz-Theater (The total dance theatre)
A virtual reality laboratory for man and machine
The project ‘Das Totale Tanz-Theater’ brings the dance-based stage experiments of Oskar Schlemmer and Walter Gropius into the digital age and in doing so exploits the potentials of virtual reality. Building on choreography by Richard Siegal, the production becomes an intense experience in the framework of a 360° installation. The production will be on show from autumn 2018 at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe and internationally.
Die ganze Welt ist ein Bauhaus (The whole world is a Bauhaus)
The history and future of an idea
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa)
‘Die ganze Welt ist ein Bauhaus’ takes the quote by Fritz Kuhr (1899–1975), a former Bauhaus student, subsequently a university lecturer, as an opportunity to thematise and visualise cultural encounters. The exhibition sheds light on the history of the avant-garde as a conjunction of discourses, cultures and actors. It presents current transcultural encounters, migrations of form and new models for unusual teaching and learning processes. The exhibition will first tour Latin America in 2018. In 2019 the exhibition and the outcomes of the tour will be presented on a pop-up stage at the ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.
DO THE RIGHT THING
The stage production DO THE RIGHT THING (DTRT) examines the intertwining of action (‘DO’), ethics (‘THE RIGHT’) and materiality (‘THING’) with recourse to the legacy of the Bauhaus stage. Based on Spike Lee’s film of the same name, which deals with racial conflicts in New York, the play begins with an ethical imperative: art should do or reflect the right thing. The work is a joint project by theatre maker Ariel Efraim Ashbel, visual artist Alona Rodeh and an international group of artists and performers. It is co-produced by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin) and Forum Freies Theater (Dusseldorf).
An offshore campus for cities in transformation
Amidst the debates about the future of the city of Berlin, in 2018 a vast concrete rainwater basin will come into being temporarily in a ‘forgotten place’, the Tempelhofer Feld. As an artificial island the Floating University (FUB) opens up a space that invites everyone to collaborate on ideas. The FUB is an international locus of exchange concerning strategies of spatial production, and a laboratory for urban transdisciplinary experiments. With lectures, workshops, laboratories and performative interventions.
Hitze Kälte Apparate (Heat cold devices)
Bauhaus – Experiments in equilibrium
Kunstfest Weimar (Weimar Arts Festival)
With this project, the Kunstfest Weimar explores how, amidst the ‘constitutive imbalance’ (Helmut Lethen) of the Weimar Republic, the Bauhaus developed its dynamic and constructive programme of new balances and a utopian everyday world. To this end, contemporary artists are invited to respond in dialogue to historic materials, documents, objects and models.
Heimo Zobernig. Demonstrationsraum (Heimo Zobernig. Demonstration space)
Scenarios for art and communication today
Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Based on the spatial designs of the Bauhaus, the De Stijl movement and Russian Constructivism, this project looks at the spatial concepts and exhibition concepts put into practice in museums today. In an open-ended work and research process by artist Heimo Zobernig, ideas are developed and realised in exemplary fashion for future presentations of collections and architectonic solutions in the Albertinum, Dresden.
Modell und Ruine (Model and ruin)
Werkleitz Festival 2019
Werkleitz Gesellschaft e.V.
The Werkleitz Festival 2019 takes place in Dessau under the motto ‘Modell und Ruine’ (Model and Ruin): The model as template for a future that must be shaped and the ruin as witness to a mostly idealised past. The aim of the festival is to locate the Bauhaus in a broader historical context. The confrontation and interaction between contemporary artistic positions and Dessau’s urban planning and historical realities sheds a fresh light on the legacy of the Bauhaus. This project invites up to 15 internationally acclaimed artists to engage with these polar forces from a contemporary perspective and address the locations found in Dessau.
Projekt Bauhaus: Wissen, Technik, Fortschritt (Project Bauhaus: Knowledge, Technology, Progress)
A temporary academy
ARCH+ Verein zur Förderung des Architektur- und Stadtdiskurses
This project subjects the Bauhaus ideas to a critical inventory and examines their utopian potential for the present and future. Over a two-year period, central themes of the Bauhaus and the classical avant-garde are reflected in theory and scrutinised in practice through design experiments by way of knowledge, technology and progress. In the final stage a critical evaluation will be made and the Bauhaus ‘buried’ in a ceremony that pays tribute to it and likewise liberates it from its legacy.
Vom Bauhaus zum AppHaus (From Bauhaus to ‘app-house’)
Creative freedoms, past and future
Neues Museum, Nuremberg
The belief in human creativity as the ultimate cultural and economic resource has taken an increasingly firm foothold in recent years. The exhibition develops the thesis that the playful culture of the Bauhaus is a substantial driving force for many of the creative spaces and methods implemented worldwide. The exhibition takes as its starting point Alma Siedhoff-Buscher’s polyfunctional play room in the prototype House ‘Am Horn’ in Weimar. In addition to historic children’s toys and their present-day adaptations, the focus is on prototyping tools and toys designed to foster motor skills, perception and collective interaction. Works by contemporary artists also refer to the project.
[NF 2017, Translations: RW]