A networking meeting for “100 Years of Bauhaus” was held at the Bauhaus Dessau on 8 November 2017. Invited by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, numerous members of the Bauhaus Association 2019 reported on the status of work on the activities planned for the centenary year.

Networking meeting of the Bauhaus Association 2019 invited by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation / Foto: Doreen Ritzau
Networking meeting of the Bauhaus Association 2019 invited by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation / Foto: Doreen Ritzau

A networking meeting for “100 Years of Bauhaus” was held at the Bauhaus Dessau on 8 November 2017. Invited by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, numerous members of the Bauhaus Association 2019 reported on the status of work on the activities planned for the centenary year.
The workshop wing of the Bauhaus building in Dessau was filled to capacity when Rainer Robra, head of the state chancellery and Saxony Anhalt’s minister of cultural affairs, welcomed members of the Bauhaus Association 2019 to the first networking meeting of the programme-makers of “100 Years of Bauhaus”. Many of the association’s partners were present, from the Federal Government Representative for Culture and Media (BKM) and the German Federal Cultural Foundation to representatives of the eight federal states: Berlin, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, SaxonySaxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Following a short introduction by Dr. Claudia Perren, director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and this year’s chair of the Bauhaus Cooperation, which considered the centenary from viewpoint of the three Bauhaus institutions in Berlin, Dessau and Weimar, Dr. Sigrid Bias-Engels of the BKM spoke about the national relevance of the Bauhaus centenary. Friederike Zobel of the German Federal Cultural Foundation highlighted the contemporary aspects of the supported programmes. The opening speeches ended with a presentation of the main programme coordination and communication of the centenary programme by the head of the “100 Years of Bauhaus” office in Weimar, Christian Bodach.

The Programmes of the Bauhaus Cooperation

The first programmatic part of the networking meeting called on four of the programme-makers of the Bauhaus Cooperation: Bettina Wagner-Bergelt, appointed artistic director of the inaugural festival in Berlin just two weeks ago, stated that she has already been working for a number of months on the concept for the week of events to launch the centenary year 2019. Her main goal is to raise public awareness of the artistic-performative legacy of the Bauhaus.

Co-curator of “Bauhaus Imaginista” Marion von Osten highlighted the international impact of modernism as a global project. The touring exhibition co-curated with Grant Watson will begin its global journey in 2018, actively transforming modernity as it moves from place to place. The tour will end in style in autumn 2019 with an exhibition in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin. This will present to the public the results of the exhibition concept realised in association with the global Goethe-Institut network.

Silke Feldhoff then presented the objectives of the “Bauhaus Agents”: Alongside the development of the three new Bauhaus museums in Berlin, Dessau in Weimar as lively and visitor-orientated locations, her main aim would be to rethink the communication approaches of the Bauhaus together with schoolchildren from the 35 participating project schools. The first interim results such as the “Formlabor” for the prologue exhibition in Weimar, “Gerhard Marcks. Paths from the Bauhaus” have already been realised this year.

Prof. Werner Durth subsequently addressed the scientific conceptualisation of the “Modern Grand Tour”. From the “artists’ acropolis” in Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, which with modern communal studios and masters’ houses seems to anticipate the artistic revolution of the Bauhaus, to the buildings of the Hansaviertel in West Berlin and the second building phase of the Stalinallee in East Berlin, Germany has a great many traces of modernism that extend far beyond the Bauhaus. It is therefore not yet possible to say which 100 places will eventually become part of this “modern route”. The decision will fall to a specialist jury, which will announce its findings by 2019.

Main exhibitions in the Bauhaus Association’s partner states

The afternoon programme focused on selected projects of the partner states, which are being sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. The start was made by the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin. Dr. Nina Wiedemeyer introduced the main exhibition of the centenary year, titled “bauhaus: production – reproduction”, which covers four main themes: becoming icons, making history, catching on, and “Don’t do it yourself!”, a tongue-in-cheek homage to expertise. Due to building work at the Bauhaus-Archiv in association with the construction of the new museum building, this exhibition will be shown in the Berlinische Galerie from September 2019 to February 2020.

The federal state of Hesse was represented by three projects: Dr. Wolfgang Voigt from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt am Main introduced the proposed exhibition project “Neuer Mensch Neue Wohnung“, which will looks at the architecture of the New Frankfurt housing programme from 1925 to 1933. With its large-scale housing project, Frankfurt was at the time regarded as an exemplary modern city not only by its architects, but also by many others. For its realisation, Ernst May, head of Frankfurt’s planning and building control office, gathered not only an international team of architects (including the inventor of the fitted kitchen, Schütte-Lihotzky, and the Dutch architect Mart Stam) but also regularly published a widely read journal on modern architecture. Hesse’s contribution was rounded off by the presentations of Grit Weber (Museum Angewandte Kunst) on the theme “Moderne am Main” and Susanne Gesser (Historisches Museum Frankfurt), titled “Wie wohnen die Leute?”

Lower Saxony was represented by two institutions: the Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History and the Sprengel Museum in Hanover. On behalf of the former, Gloria Köpnick presented the concept for the exhibition “Zwischen Utopie und Anpassung – das Bauhaus in Oldenburg” which looks at the sometimes very different careers of four Bauhauslers. Included alongside Hin Bredendiek are less well-known figures such as Karl Schwoon, who after the war went from being a successful gallery owner to the editor of a major consumer publication. Hanover’s contribution presented by Dr. Inka Schube also explores the work and legacy of a Bauhausler: Umbo, who after leaving the Bauhaus became Berlin’s leading photographer of contemporary figures, before being rediscovered as a surrealist of sorts in the later Federal Republic.

Other contributions from the partner states included the only project not linked to a specific institution, MIK e.V. by Christiane Lange (NRW), the typography exhibition “einfach grotesk” in the Gutenberg Museum Mainz (Rheinland-Pfalz), outlined by Jörg Meißner, and the project “Reconstructing the Future” realised by Héctor Solari for the HELLERAU-European Center for the Arts Dresden (Saxony). This section ended with the contribution of Dr. Regina Bittner on the centenary exhibition “Versuchsstätte Bauhaus“, presented by the host institution, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, in the new Bauhaus Museum Dessau, and the presentation of Dr. Ulrike Bestgen, which focused on the exhibition concept of the third cooperation partner, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, titled “100 Jahre Bauhaus, Moderne, Gegenwart“, which will be the inaugural exhibition at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar in April 2019. Their presentations also included the concept of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau as a hub for the entire city as well as the formulation of a “small grand tour” for Thuringia.

Conversations with press representatives, a look at the programmes of all the partner states and a group photograph of all participants for the press rounded off this first networking meeting for “100 Years of Bauhaus”. As the post-meeting conversation in the Bauhaus Club revealed, the hors d'oeuvre to complement the wine were topped only by the appetisers for the coming centenary year.

 

 

[NF 2017, Translations: RW]