With the photo campaign ‘The world sees Bauhaus’, bauhaus100 invites you to capture and share your personal views and unusual perspectives of the Bauhaus. Here we present our image of the week.
31 March 2017: In the context of the recently opened exhibition in Mexico City The Co-op Principle – Hannes Meyer and the Concept of Collective Design, we received an interesting tip from co-curator Raquel Franklin: The former director of the Bauhaus was not only a socially-minded architect and ardent socialist, but also a keen hiker and mountain climber throughout his life. Whether in his homeland of Switzerland, at the Bauhaus in Dessau or later in remote Russia or Mexico, the architect was always drawn to nature, as many of his photographs prove.
Raquel Franklin, who curated the exhibition together with Werner Möller from the Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, explains: “Even as a child Meyer regularly went hiking with his father, e.g. around the Augusta Raurica area near Basel. Years later, Meyer would often refer to the fact that he found peace in nature. In Mexico he then often walked in the Desierto de los Leones National Park, or climbed the Popocatépetl volcano south of Mexico City. He frequently painted or sketched the surroundings or structures such as the aqueduct of Los Remedios. For Meyer, the landscape meant more than just relaxation; it was a significant part of his architectural concept. His designs, for example for the spa of Agua Hedionda in Morelos (Mexico) or for the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau, were intentionally integrated in the landscape.” These and other projects that Hannes Meyer planned and realised may be seen in the exhibition in the Museo Franz Mayer in Mexico City until 28 May 2017. (MK)
24 March 2017: If you cross through the Ludwig Hoffmann quarter in Berlin-Buch, you will find a building from 1957 designed by Franz Ehrlich, a former Bauhausler then working as an architect for the GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade. This architectonic attraction, once a renowned research institute for cardiovascular diseases, lay dormant in the wake of German reunification. Now, the Ehrlich House is to be revived with a new usage concept.
One of the “Upcycled Furniture” projects is a series of tables, chairs, benches and lamps. These were made from found materials from the abandoned treatment rooms by artists from “Büro unbekannt” together with refugees and the association “Momo - The voice of disconnected youth”. Dominik Steinmann from “Büro unbekannt” recalls: “The idea was to creatively address this special place and its architects and to archive the history in the form of furniture. We found many original materials and furnishings from the GDR era here, such as pharmacists’ cabinets, shelves, particle board furniture, ceiling lamps and doors with fittings. To a certain extent perhaps, the functionality and aesthetics of these unique items still echo the spirit of the Bauhaus.” If you would like to see this furniture in the flesh, you can visit Dominik Steinmann in his studio in Buch. (MK)
17 March 2017: This week we received an image from the hidden picture book Where’s Warhol? recently published in German translation by diaphanes, Switzerland. In the book, Andy Warhol tours twelve hotspots of art and cultural history, such as the ancient city of Pompeii, Studio 54, or a fancy dress dinner party with Salvador Dalí. Andy has immersed himself in the events shown on the pages of the large format book, and the young and well-versed reader’s challenge is to spot him among the crowds.
Andy, the icon of popular culture, also visits the Bauhaus: While he parties on the roof of the building with the Bauhaus band and the Triadic Ballet, on the floors below people are working flat out on the modern age. “The students who suddenly found themselves among the spearheads of the avant-garde worked side by side with their masters and designed prototypes for industrial production. […] They created one design classic after another,” explain authors Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae towards the end of the book, where some more stories and famous figures are to be found. When all the stories in the hidden pictures are told, only one question remains: Where was Andy Warhol? (MK)
10 March 2017: This week we received a travel tip from Thuringia. Although the Milchhof built in Arnstadt in 1928 was not designed by any of the Bauhauslers, it embodies in the truest sense the ideas of the modern age, according to photographer Jan Kobel. Built in tiers to form a cubic structure the building by Martin Schwarz represents “an architecture that is not only simple and attractive, but also optimises work processes, minimises costs, is well lit and indeed reflects the interest of the people that live and work in it”, says Jan Kobel, who in addition to his professional activities as photographer is involved in the revitalisation of this listed building for the Bauhaus centenary 2019. Find out more about the Milchhof Arnstadt and its development as a cultural and events centre: milchhof-arnstadt.de
You can find more travel tips to places of modernism on our new travel portal.
3 March 2017: In order to track down the international influences of the Bauhaus, this week we visited the ifa-Galerie in Berlin. From Moroccan Berber rugs to wall textiles by Bauhauslers Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl and works by Sheila Hicks and the Casablanca School, the exhibition "In the Carpet" shows how the threads and paths between artists from Europe and the Maghreb crossed and influenced one another and continue to do so today. As we stepped out onto the Linienstraße after our flying visit, it occurred to us that Gunta Stölzl would have been 120 years old this Sunday. Her thread of life spanned 86 years.
The city will always pursue you
24 February 2017: This week we received a tongue-in-cheek image from the İzmir Museum of Arts and Sculpture, which Veronika Peischl of Ottakring photographed for our campaign “The world sees Bauhaus”. There, in an exhibition featuring political caricatures from all over the world, she came across a graphic critique of the modern era. “The work by Columbian illustrator Elena Ospina immediately reminded me of the enduring allegation that the Bauhaus and similar movements had created an impersonal and misanthropic city that now consumes its own children, the people.”
The image could also be freely interpreted to mean something completely different, based on Constantine Cavafy’s poem “The City”: This city will always pursue you. You will walk / the same streets, grow old in the same neighborhoods / will turn gray in these same houses. / You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things elsewhere: / there is no ship for you, there is no road. / As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner, / you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.
On 18 February 2017, Bauhaus master Gerhard Marcks would have been 128 years old. We were therefore particularly pleased with this image of the week by Judith Bärmann, who currently lives in Bremen and has been familiar with Gerhard Marcks’ sculpture of the Town Musicians of Bremen for a while, but only recently heard about its Bauhaus roots.
“I cycle past the bronze sculpture, created by Marcks in the early 1950s for the square in front of Bremen’s town hall, almost every day. Then recently in the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus I discovered earlier works such as woodcuts and ceramics from his time at the Bauhaus. To me they embody a highly traditional artisanal ethos combined with the idea of a renewal of art through craftsmanship.” The Town Musicians of Bremen, too, have a particular appeal: “Touching the front legs of the donkey is said to make a wish come true”.
P.S. If you would like to find out more about Gerhard Marcks and his time at and after the Bauhaus, then make a note now of the exhibition “Paths from the Bauhaus. Gerhard Marcks and his Circle of Friends”. It is one of the series of three large exhibitions kicking off in 2017 in the framework of “100 Years of Bauhaus”, and is being organised by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar in cooperation with the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus, Bremen.
17 August – 5 November 2017
Neues Museum Weimar
1 December 2017 – 3 March 2018
When Architecture Inspires Fashion
10 February 2017: On the occasion of this month’s international fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, we have received a particularly suitable „image of the week". The Bauhaus inspired and influenced, not only architecture, but also the fashion world – that until today!
The Polish photographer Marcin Tyszka, whose pictures have already adorned the covers of „Elle“ or „Vogue“, named his photo series for the October 2016 issue of the Italian magazine „Marie Claire“ after the Bauhaus. „We think that fashion gets inspiration from architecture – the pieces we used for the shoot – were inspired by this architecture.“ Tyszka thus staged the model as a photographic ode to fashion and the Bauhaus. And even if the fashions are not the 1928 originals by Lis Beyer-Volger, the series is still well worth a look, also for Bauhaus fans.
Jacob sees the Bauhaus
3 February 2017: This Picture of the Week was sent to us by the Arendt-Grimstein family of Jena after a visit to the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar. “A small but fine museum that delighted both children, who are aged 7 and almost 3”, the family wrote. “We were very pleasantly surprised”. Seven-year-old Jacob was so impressed that, at home, he put his impressions on paper and spent the whole evening experimenting with the bauhaus100 stencil. Will this be the start of a great career?
“The stencils lend themselves to crafting, painting and play”, said the family. “They are a great idea, not only for children, and allow us to see things from a different perspective. Many thanks.” We in turn would like to thank Jacob for his lovely picture!
Welcoming the Year of the Rooster
27 January 2017: Here some time ago we presented a folding exercise by Josef Albers. That it is also possible to fold completely different things is shown by our photographer Janine Keller, who is currently getting ready for the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Fire Rooster, which begins on 28 January 2017.
This combination – the Chinese zodiac sign of the rooster and the element of fire – occurs just once every sixty years. The prospects for the coming year include optimism, popularity with friends and a success year in business, in which much can be achieved!
Organisation is everything!
20 January 2017: Amelie Hardtke wrote us: "On my last visit at IKEA, I realized a kitchen shelf that reminded me the chutes of the famous Frankfurt kitchen. I had recently heard about the kitchen in a lecture and I was impressed, how Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky organized all the working-steps for a minimum space."
The chutes she had developed in collaboration with the company Haarer, that also had designed a kitchen for modern women. Their Haarer kitchen however became less known than the Frankfurt kitchen.
13 January 2017: Fitting for the time of year, today we bring you this wintery scene by Ulrich Weber, who comes from Neusäß. It was taken near Schloss Scherneck on the edge of the alpine valley Lechtal in Swabia (Bavaria). “A nature photograph in this special weather does not come about by accident – the composition plays an important role”. Later in the studio he carried on with the composition using our stencil and was evidently pleased with the outcome. “Taking this further towards animation and the web unfortunately exceeded the limits of this campaign.” Sadly, we can therefore only guess how Ulrich Weber’s experiments with video would have turned out.
Meeting the Bauhaus Cradle
7 January 2017
Happy New Year with Xanti!
23 December 2016: We wish all our readers a happy new year – with an image of Xanti Schawinsky as christmas angel in front of the Bauhaus Christmas "tree" from 1929. We will be back in the first week of January.
18 December 2016: For this fourth Sunday of Advent, we set out to find how Christmas was celebrated at the Bauhaus in the past. We found what we were looking for with Gunta Stölzl, who had described in a letter the first Christmas at the Bauhaus in 1919. The room was decorated with a magnificent Christmas tree, lights, apples and a long white table with large candles. Under the tree there were countless presents – one for each of those present. Gropius read the Christmas Gospel and Emmy Haim sang. After handing out the presents, the food was brought out and served to each guest by Gropius. The tradition of celebrating Christmas together for those who did not leave to be with their families at Christmas, but stayed at the Bauhaus, was also upheld in Dessau.
Because Nature is Flexible
9 December 2016: Those who attentively follow the developments here on bauhaus100.de will perhaps remember this year’s Marianne Brandt competition, which was announced in spring and sought ‘The Poetry of the Functional’ through a contemporary use of materials. The competition’s prizewinners have now been chosen and their work is currently on show in an exhibition at the Sächsisches Industriemuseum in Chemnitz.
We especially liked this lobster. It is one of the Bionic Toys made by designer Marcel Pasternak. His flexible construction toy was awarded one of the two first prizes in the Product Design category. With his Bionic Toys, motifs from nature can be easily recreated. As such, children aged 6 and over are able to grasp through play how, for instance, frogs jump or fish swim.
Ise Gropius' Shoe Collection
3 December 2016: During the Bauhaus Dessau’s 90th anniversary celebrations we were also able to take a look in Ise Gropius’s shoe cupboard. In the Bauhaus auditorium on the anniversary evening, film maker and historian Thomas Tode presented the film programme that was also shown at the building’s official opening in 1926. One of the films, Wie leben wir gesund und wirtschaftlich (How to live in a healthy an economic way), which aimed to promote New Architecture and the modern household, was filmed in Gropius House.
In the film Ise Gropius, her sister and a friend show us around the director’s villa, which she had just moved into. In doing so she also showcases the furniture and selected domestic appliances, their modern functionality: from the sink and the Bauhaus tea infuser to the floor power sockets, the practical, adjustable reading lamp and the (very neat and compact) built-in shoe cupboard.
East German modernism on Feininger’s island
25 November 2016: The photographer of our picture of the week unexpectedly found herself keeping track of Lyonel Feininger on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom. The renowned painter, Bauhaus master and passionate racing cyclist regularly visited the island between 1908 and 1921. Berlin-based Andrea Nakath is likewise a fan of Usedom and discovered the Feininger cycle path on her recent visit in late autumn. The path crosses the entire island, connecting the places in which Feininger painted.
Andrea Nakath told us about her experience on tour: ‘It offers a hands-on experience of the unified approach of the Bauhaus – the modern way of living embraces body, mind and soul’. The path took her all the way to Świnoujście in the Polish part of the island, which is where our picture of the week was taken. It shows the swimming pool, which is situated right beside the beach. ‘A relic of the modern era in East Germany that literally bears a sign of the times, on the Feininger cycle path. This connection gave us plenty to talk about on the way back’, stated our photographer.
The architects of Dessau
18 November 2016: This week we received a photo that not only reminds us of the recent late summer, but also clearly shows that the idea of a uniform aesthetic resolution in housing does not necessarily comply with the residents’ desire for individualisation. The photo shows a house on the Dessau-Törten estate, which Walter Gropius built on the periphery of Dessau from 1926 to 1928. Shortly after the completion of the estate, many residents began to adapt these industrially manufactured homes to meet their own requirements – although then as now, they certainly did not want to do without the large kitchen gardens behind the houses.
Agents News #1
11 November 2016: Our nine Bauhaus Agents have been active for a few weeks now. High time therefore for a snapshot, taken this afternoon when they made their first appearance on stage – on the Bauhaus stage in Dessau, that is. Here, they presented the outcome of their one-week workshop with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. What we saw on the Bauhaus stage won us over so completely that we wish to share it with you right away, and have therefore selected this image as our picture of the week.
Spatial research with paper
4 November 2016: At our last visit to the Bauhaus Dessau we came across a handicraft sheet for children at the museum shop: a spatial ball modelled on a preliminary course oeuvre of Josef Albers. Perfect as a small finger exercise for rainy and dark November afternoons. Especially as one effortlessly engages with a bit of spatial research.
The Bauhaus master Josef Albers called his teaching programme “Inventive building and observational discovery” in which he had his students discover materials, constructions and spaces in the Bauhaus preliminary course. From surface to space, from paper to corpus – thus with simple folding and pegging works the foundations for architectural design were laid. The assembly instruction for the spatial ball refers to it as a particularly impressive example of this. With it, Albers showed his students how effortless the transition between the second and third dimension of space can be. The three circles are quickly cut out and assembled into a ball. We are greatly enjoying ourselves and are ambitiously continuing to craft and fold with Albers and folding instructions from the Internet.
28 October 2016: Anja Guttenberger sent us this picture of the Bundesschule ADGB Bernau (ADBG Trade Union School) with which she connects a very personal story: “When I was five years old, I learnt how to swim in the outdoor swimming pool of the ADGB school in Bernau Waldfrieden. My kindergarten was located right behind the campus of the hidden Trade Union School that was designed and built by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer with the Bauhaus from 1928 to 1930. At that time I was not aware of this. I passed through the glass corridor which students refer to as “corridor of sighs”. Admittedly, at the time – in the year 1986 – it was only half as nice, because it was closed off with waist-high boards. My mother was working here and I kind of felt at home in this corridor – in the offices (where she worked), the canteen (where we often had meals together), the swimming pool (where I could be found in summer from dawn till dusk), the gymnasium (where I did pop gymnastics as a child with my mother).”
Today an art historian specialising in the Bauhaus and a member of the Förderverein baudenkmal bundesschule bernau e.V., she recently guided her first English group through the place of her childhood. This is when this photo was taken. “I find it really fascinating how I feel magically attracted to this glass corridor. Following the reconstruction of the Trade Union school, the old GDR boarding has disappeared and finally Meyer’s and Wittwer’s concept makes sense again: to bring nature inside. If I pass through the glass corridor today, I walk as closely as possible to the floor-to-ceiling windows and I can almost feel the grass of the interior court yard under my feet.”
From Bauhaus into "Beach House"
21 October 2016: When Bjanca Schmallofsky from Göttingen visited the "Dunes de Pyla" last weekend, she did not trust her eyes. At the foot of the largest sand dunes of Europe, massive concrete structures stretched into the sky of Western France. On their request, she learned that these were the remains of the German occupiers, which could no longer be removed.
Bjanca remembered the photo campaign of bauhaus100 and sent us this snapshot with the following ironic remark: "In 1919 the Bauhaus masters would certainly not have dreamed of being so sustainable in spreading "modern German technology" into an international setting".
Unfortunately, the excellent material research that drove the Bauhaus to creative high performance was somehow perverted during the Nazi period: instead of "democratic" glass and steel suddenly reinforced concrete became Germany's top architecture export.
14 October 2016: Max Clark from Hamshire, England sent us a photo with his interpretation of the Prellerhaus in Dessau. He used around 600 Legos to recreate the five-storey studio building. We think that he did a pretty good job and wish him every success for the voting with Lego Ideas!
The Three Graces
6 October 2016: On a day out in the grounds of the Malzfabrik in Berlin, our photographer Roksana Jankowski unexpectedly found herself in the middle of a Tanztheater (dance theatre). ’What I saw there immediately reminded me of the figures of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet – the form, the artistry and the movement.’ This kinetic sculpture by Berlin-based artist Oliver Hahn was indeed inspired by dance. He describes his Drei Grazien (Three Graces) as ‘a painting machine that, moved by the wind, constantly paints shapes in the sky’. For more than ten years the Three Graces danced their pirouettes above the rooftops of Berlin, before they found their new place in the grounds of the Malzfabrik this summer.
Great architects come together
30 September 2016: What was Walter Gropius thinking back then, when he gave his Employment Office in Dessau the form of a semicircle and numerous entrances? What does he have to say about the wooden window frames that were retrofitted in the external walls just a few years later? Those who were out and about in Dessau last weekend for the Triennale der Moderne had the unique opportunity to be led on a guided tour of the city by Walter Gropius himself, as large as life – but not only by him.
On the way he was joined by another great architect who in his day played a major role in the design of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz: Friedrich Wilhelm von Erdmannsdorff. This great architect of the classical period and Gropius, the great architect of classical modernism, walked together through Dessau on this sunny Saturday afternoon, animatedly discussed their ideas at the time, their thoughts and designs for the city, and were more than a little astonished by just how differently the city had developed since then.
On the road with the Bauhaus
22 September 2016: For Elisabeth Schneider from Fürth, Bauhaus is first and foremost an idea: simplified, colourful design that does not distract from its intended purpose, but if anything emphasises this through design. When she visited the Bauhaus Dessau with her family this spring, she came across more than just the stencil for the campaign ‘The world sees Bauhaus’:
In a stairwell, near the spot immortalised by Oskar Schlemmer, she saw this elegant rucksack on the back of a five-year-old visitor. Manufactured by a duo of architects from Berlin, it is, much to the chagrin of our photographer, a prototype and not yet commercially available. Elisabeth Schneider wasted no time taking a photo to serve as a reminder: if the ‘Bauhaus rucksack’ does go into production one day, it’s certain she won’t just be thinking of her daughter...
Go-ahead for the Bauhaus Agents
16 September 2016: The Bauhaus Agents in Berlin, Dessau and Weimar have started their work in time for the start of the school year 2016/2017 and met last week for a three-day workshop in the events pavilion bauhaus re use in Berlin. ‘The nine Bauhaus Agents, professionals from different disciplines, combine a broad range of competencies from the fields of theatre, architecture, direction, drama, voice and art education’, says Dr. Silke Feldhoff, Programme Director of the Bauhaus Agents programme. As such, the Bauhaus Agents are ideally positioned for their challenging task: Together with schoolchildren, teachers, artists, designers, architects and urban scientists, over the next four school years they will develop innovative education programmes for the new Bauhaus museums in Berlin, Dessau and Weimar.
The Bauhaus Agents programme is an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation with the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Bauhaus-Archiv /Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin.
More information about the Bauhaus Agents programme
Bauhaus can be found everywhere – also in the Rhoen
8 September 2016: In the past year Maria Kracht visited an exhibition on Max Nehrling at the Haus am Horn in Weimar and has now gone searching for traces in the Rhoen. Many of the drawings of the Bauhaus artist originate in the wonderful landscape, which is only 120 kilometres away from Weimar. “Sometimes it is the supposedly unremarkable places that provide us with necessary inspiration”, our photographer finds on her journey of discovery and takes us along to small and remote places in the Rhoen.
There in the small village of Föhrlitz, Max Nehrling founded the “artists’ colony Föhrlitz”. Just a few kilometres further away, the sculptor Wilhelm Löber was a lecturer at the “Schnitzschule Empfertshausen” (school for carving). Löber was also a Bauhaus student and had studied under Max Krehan and Gerhard Marcks in the Bauhaus’ ceramics workshop in Dornburg an der Saale. Later he became the master student of Gerhard Marcks at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle. Around 1955 he founded Fischland ceramics.
Also Zella/Rhoen should be mentioned here, according to Maria Kracht. The artist Friedrich B. Henkel grew up here. He did his apprenticeship as a wood sculptor at the Schnitzschule Empfertshausen and stood in close personal contact with Gerhard Marcks. Henkel recently celebrated his 80th birthday and will inaugurate an exhibition in Berlin Strausberg in September. The Bauhaus can be found everywhere – also in the Rhoen, as Maria Kracht has shown us on her search for traces.
More on Max Nehrling
More on Gerhard Marcks
More on Max Krehan
More on the ceramics workshop
More on Wilhelm Löber
Who invented it?
1 September 2016: The motto of this year’s Bauhaus party “Circus, Circus – from Black to White” reminded us of a photo that a viewer of GNTM sent us following the programme on 14 April. With their black and white outfits the candidates would have been ideally suited / dressed up for the party in Dessau. In 1926 the Bauhaus student Heinrich Koch incidentally had a very similar idea and appeared at the white party at the Bauhaus Dessau with his face painted in chequers and in a chequered costume.
More on the Bauhaus party 2016 “Circus, Circus – from Black to White”
Room with a View
25 August 2016: Yussuf Samra, an architect from Beirut, was quite surprised when he moved into the holiday apartment in Berlin which he had rented through a private network. He really hadn’t reckoned with scaffolding right in front of the panorama window – even less so with the view that he saw behind the blue safety netting: Wasn’t that a building designed by the Bauhaus contemporary, Bruno Taut? The opposite side of the street features a slightly curved five-storey residential block built by the advocate of New Architecture for the city of Berlin 1927–1928. At least this gem of architectural history in the now trendy neighbourhood of Neukölln compensated the traveller at the end of the working day, when the noise made by the construction workers abated, giving way to the idyllic stillness of a small side street.
BAUHAUS is EVERYWHERE and TIMELESS!
18 August 2016: Enrique Villaseñor López actually wanted to start his search for an appropriate image for our photo campaign ‘The world sees Bauhaus’ in the Bauhaus-Archiv. But one morning on the way to work he noticed a chair in the style of the famous Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer outside a junk shop in Berlin, on top of an aged trunk in a tangle of other furniture and objects. ‘It was impressive’, says Enrique, who had become acquainted with the Bauhaus as a young man, back in Mexico. ‘Once again I realised that the design, architecture and art of the Bauhaus school is extremely avant-garde.’ Enrique’s accidental photographic comparison gives a sense of just how innovative Breuer’s bent tubular steel chairs were back in the 1920s.
11 August 2016: Our photographer Laura Raber recently came across the Moholy-Nagy’s of tomorrow at the Lüttville summer camp in Hamburg. At a young age, they already show a considerable talent for experimental photography, as these “Heliophytograms” clearly show. What do you need for these photo experiments? It’s quite simple: photographic paper, flowers, cling film and a little bit of sun.
The “Heliophytogram” was invented by the artist Herbert Wagner. Since 2009 he has been teaching young photographic artists what he knows in an annual workshop in Lüttville. But Wagner was not the first to discover this photographic technique, which is well known also outside Lüttville as the “Lumen print”. But this is of little interest to the young photographers. They are enjoying their one-week creative holiday camp and are already looking forward to next year, when 150 children from Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg will again experiment together in a wide variety of workshops.
Tel Avi - A Bauhaus City
4 August 2016: Summertime is travelling time – and Jonathan Gradmann shares his journey with us. The Weimar-based student recently travelled to Tel Aviv and was impressed with what he found there: “I asked myself what makes this city so special. It is of course the people, the cultures, also the good food, but most of all it is the architecture, which defines the image of the city and informs its urban flair. The Bauhaus is to be found on every street corner. The spirit of the Bauhaus is more noticeable in Tel Aviv than almost anywhere else.”
Tower of Fire
28 July 2016: For the first time in many years, Petra Kirschstein returned to Weimar for a few days – the place that she knew from family trips a lifetime ago in the days of the GDR. “On the one hand I felt a bit sad that this childhood feeling evaded me and, on the other, I was fascinated by this lively, wonderful city”, says our photographer.
“I associate all of this with Johannes Itten’s ‘Tower of Fire’ and the photo I took. Life is an expression of oneness, from beginning to end; a wonderful interplay between memory and making memories, present and future. It’s a gift to be able to constantly change our perspective.”
For all those who visit Weimar, not to rekindle childhood memories, but to look for traces of the Bauhaus in its place of origin, the Bauhaus Museum on the Theaterplatz is the place to go. This is where our photographer found the reconstruction of Johannes Itten’s ‘Tower of Fire’, dating from 1920, which she photographed though the stencil. Incidentally, the original version comprising twelve bells with coloured glass was situated at the time in the Ilmpark in Weimar, in front of Johannes Itten’s studio in the Tempelherrenhaus, which is little more than a ruin today.
On the Bauhaus work ‘Tower of Fire’, Johannes Itten, 1920
bathing à la Feininger
21 July 2016: “I was a child when I stumbled upon the works of Lyonel Feininger in a volume on Bauhaus artists. I got into the bathtub after school and read in the beautiful book, constantly worrying that it may get wet”, Benjamin Haumann, the art history student from Munich recounts. “When I had the opportunity to visit Dessau for the first time last weekend, I could not resist the temptation: I had to sit in the bathtub of Feininger’s master house and appreciate the view the artist so much admired by me enjoyed after painting.”
Opening of the Office 100 years of bauhaus in Weimar
15 July 2016: Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bauhaus Association 2019, State Secretary for Europe and Culture in the Thuringia State Chancellery Dr. Babette Winter, Dr. Regina Bittner (Bauhaus Dessau Foundation), Prof. Wolfgang Holler (Klassik Stiftung Weimar), Dr. Annemarie Jaeggi (Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin), and the team of the Office 100 years of bauhaus, Dr. Sven Sappelt (Head of Programme), Christian Bodach (Head of Project Management) and Andrea Dietrich (Coordinator bauhaus100 in Thuringia) open the Office 100 years of bauhaus in Weimar.
Bauhaus spirit with Sasha Waltz
7 July 2016: Sasha Waltz, choreographer, who holds the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and is an internationally acclaimed icon of contemporary dance – is known to deliberately cross borders. “The Bauhaus stands for a spirit of openness, a love for experimenting and the curiosity to learn from other disciplines, which is incredibly productive. I want to promote this attitude of openness through my work – particularly also with the audience”, Sasha Waltz explains in the interview with bauhaus100.de.
We met her recently at the Berlin Radialsystem V during her festival series “ZUHÖREN” (“LISTENING”) where conversations on cultural and artistic identity, flight and migration together with improvisations, concerts and installations formed a “third room for art and politics”. Our image of the week shows one of the rear moments, when Sasha Waltz herself can be seen on stage – together with dancers of her company and enthusiasts of musical experimentation such as the inventor of the steel cello Bob Rutman, the improvisation marathon percussionist Robyn Schulkowsky or the Instanbul Baroque bassoonist Burak Özdemir (not visible in the picture). A cross-over of disciplines, generations and cultural backgrounds in best Bauhaus tradition!
Here you find our images of the week of the past:
30 June 2016: Today our image of the week takes us to the year 1933, when on 30th July, the members of the Congrès Internationaux d‘Architecture Moderne (CIAM) gathered on board of the steamer Patris II in Marseille for a journey to Athens. This legendary 4th CIAM congress on the “functional city” marked the turning point for modern urban planning. None other than Bauhaus icon László Moholy-Nagy had been commissioned to document the meeting of icons – such as Le Corbusier (pictured giving a presentation during the passage), CIAM president Cornelis van Eesteren and Fernand Léger – on film.
Moholy-Nagy’s unique contemporary document is currently on display at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne as part of the „Fernand Léger. Painting in Space“ exhibition. “Seeing modern architecture and some of its most important representatives in a contemporary moving image, made me shiver – especially, when recalling that the Bauhaus in Berlin hat to close its doors forever just a couple of days previously,” David Salokin says, who took this snapshot for us.
22 June 2016: During an excursion, Uta Neu stayed with her tour group in the former studio building, the so-called Prellerhaus, at the Bauhaus Dessau. There, where the junior masters and a few students lived, a Bauhaus fan can “get an intimate sense of the Bauhaus atmosphere of yore”, says our photographer. She endeavoured to capture one of her favourite motifs with our bauhaus100 stencil: the balconies of the Prellerhaus.
16 June 2016: This photo captures a special gallery talk on 11 May 2016 at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, MA USA. Busch-Reisinger Museum curatorial fellow Robert Wiesenberger (at right, with electric cord) discussed the Moholy-Nagy "Light Prop for an Electric Stage (Light-Space Modulator)" and then activated the work for 1 minute. The artwork in motion can be seen here.
9 June 2016: Nina Propper from Marzahn was in a sports club in Gropiusstadt with her son Aaron. Below the satellite town planned by Walter Gropius, the up-and-coming sportsman competed in a game of hockey, while his mother Nina’s eye was repeatedly drawn to her surroundings. “I even discovered the youth club that featured in Christiane F. It was a real trip back to the history of Berlin and West Germany.” Did Aaron see it the same way? He shakes his head. For him, only the next game counts, because this time his team lost five-nil.
2 June 2016: Everyone knows Oskar Schlemmer’s “Bauhaus Stairway”. The famous painting was completed in 1932 in Wroclaw. Schlemmer’s first sketch for it dates back to 1928 and was inspired by a photo taken by T. Lux Feininger for Gropius’s leaving party. The photo showed the weavers associated with Gunta Stölzl on the stairway in the Bauhaus Dessau.
Now, Oskar Schlemmer’s “Bauhaus Stairway” has inspired an image of the week. But this time, it shows the Knauth family from Jahnsdorf in the Erzgebirge, rather than the weavers. On the weekend after Ascension Day, the family’s customary educational outing led them to Dessau. “We had looked at Schlemmer’s painting in preparation for the trip, and the stencil then gave us the idea for this image”, says our photographer. Many thanks to the Knauth family for sharing their homage to Oskar Schlemmer with us.
28 May 2016: Today, the Venice Architecture Biennale opens its doors. bauhaus100.de is there, looking around for contemporary Bauhaus Spirit at the world's most important architecture exhibition, which is running until 27 November. More on revolutionary design ideas and architecture as a tool for improving daily life soon at bauhaus100.de.
19 May 2016: This time, Mila Makarova from Moscow grants us insights into her travel diary. Naturally, as an art teacher on a trip to Berlin, she had to visit the Bauhaus-Archiv. She tells us, “First and foremost, I was fascinated with the simplicity of the colours. If I had to teach a class on this, I would illustrate the subject of colour and form using a collage technique”.
12 May 2016: This time, our photographer Kascha Lemke takes us on a journey to a world of light and colours. Thank you for this beautiful spectacle of colour, light and space!
5 May 2016: Robert Verch sent us this beautiful photo of his sculpture at the Bauhaus in Dessau. For the exhibition “Big Plans!” he looks at the graphic designer and commercial artist Walter Dexel (1890–1973). Dexel’s ads were based on a commercial message that was purely typographical and colourful in its design. Using this approach, he designed, amongst others, neon signs for advertising pillars, traffic signs as well as billboards and sculptures.
What was still in its infancy at that time, is today an integral part of our everyday lives and urban spaces. Robert Verch’s sculpture challenges Dexel’s aesthetic with the question “how can one make advertisement invisible”. Verch’s succinct messages thereby play with the viewer’s perception and attention – they change when passing by and only reveal themselves when one inquisitively approaches the sculpture.
28 April 2016: Gerhard Rieskamp pushes the boundaries of what the Bauhaus can inspire an architect to do today. The Lego enthusiast has used 694 Lego bricks to build a replica of the Bauhaus building in Dessau and displayed it in front of the original. “Making models fascinates me”, says Rieskamp. “The challenge lies in paring down the design to the bare essentials.”
Our Lego builder is currently submitting his Bauhaus model to “Lego Ideas”. Over the next two years he must gain 10,000 votes for his project. Then, with a little luck, Gerhard Rieskamp’s Lego Bauhaus could be on sale as a Lego set for Bauhaus and Lego fans alike in time for the Bauhaus Centenary 2019. We wish him the best of luck!
21 April 2016: During a visit at the Bauhaus Dessau, Roksana Jankowski took this beautiful photo of a brochure on display there. “The photo of the old pinhole camera immediately caught my eye” she tells us. “As a photographer the experimental photography of the Bauhaus has always fascinated me. The photo reminded me of the early days of my apprenticeship, when I was personally experimenting with a pinhole camera.”
14 April 2016: Katharina Städele from Karlsruhe sent us this photo of an unusual tattoo. “The design appealed to me right away. You have to look at it a few times to realise what it is.” For Katharina, the subject portrayed is interesting in more than just the visual sense.
“I used to dance ballet and of course I had also heard of the ‘Triadic Ballet’, but I always imagined that the costumes would be difficult to move in.” Our photographer of the week will soon have a chance to find out for herself: a new interpretation of Oskar Schlemmer’s ballet will be performed on 30 April 2016 for the exhibition “It’s All Design” at the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn.
7 April 2016: Tina Stamatova from Hamburg was visiting a friend in Berlin who took her off to an unusual place in Neukölln. “We walked over mountains of sand and building rubble, had to cross over a barrier – and Google Maps proved to be no use at all.” The goal was a staircase in the back yard of an old industrial site. When she reached the bottom, she was positively amazed.
Here in the middle of nowhere, she felt as if she’d landed in a David Lynch film: garish art installations, strangely made-up young guests, a concert by Indian and Syrian musicians. “The focal point on this opening night was a figure that was clearly hanging on threads. Its name was Metamorpheus.” Like Orpheus, the guests had descended into the underworld, in order to transform themselves. “To my mind, Bauhaus means ongoing transformation. To cut loose from the threads that appear to control us, our thinking and our perception, but also our habits.”
31 March 2016: This photo comes to us from Weimar, in time for the anniversary of the foundation of the Bauhaus on 1 April 1919. Evidently the spirit of the Bauhaus also inspires street artists in its birthplace, as our photographer Benjamin Grau proves.
The photo shows Wassily Kandinsky, who was appointed to the Bauhaus by Walter Gropius in 1922 and who taught the classes “Abstract form elements” and “Analytical drawing” there until its closure in 1933.
24 March 2016: Ran Keren, a Bauhaus fan from Munich, recently made a surprising discovery at the special exhibition ‘Schmuck München 2016’. “When I saw the part of the show called ‘Rattle your Jewellery’, it immediately struck me that the design of the jewellery shown in this photo replicated the basic Bauhaus forms”, said the photographer and designer. “I was thrilled that this constellation continues to inspire designers today and is still very much alive.”
In the 1920s in his expressive colour theory, the Bauhaus master Johannes Itten allocated characteristic colours to the basic forms: red for the square, yellow for the triangle and blue for the circle.
17 March 2016: Bauhaus-greetings from Trondheim, Norway.
3 March 2016: On a trip from Vienna to Berlin in summer 2015 Flemming Herre took an opportunity to stop off in Brno in the Czech Republic. “I had wanted to see Villa Tugendhat from the inside for a long time”. Designed by Mies van der Rohe and built from 1928 to 1930 for the textile manufacturer Fritz Tugendhat, it is a seminal work of modern architecture. “It is very impressive. Everything is well conceived, right down to the last detail – incredibly innovative for those days around 1929/30! My favourite gadget: the huge panorama window that slides down at the press of a button. It has its own motor in the cellar.”
The villa was fully restored in 2012 and has been open to the public since then. If you too would like to follow in Flemming Herre’s footsteps, it is recommended that you plan your visit well in advance and reserve a highly sought-after opportunity to view the villa.
25 February 2016: The picture of the week was taken today at the Italian embassy in Berlin by the bauhaus100 editorial office. Alejandro Aravena, recently awarded the internationally renowned Pritzker Prize 2016 for his socially minded architecture, was there to introduce his plans for this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, the world’s largest and weightiest exhibition on current themes in architecture and urban planning. The limits of architecture and more will be addressed under Aravena’s motto “Reporting from the Front”, the aim being to shed new light on the complexity of the tasks and challenges that architects deal with in order to improve living conditions for people worldwide. More than 60 nations will contribute to the exhibition. The Architecture Biennale will run from 28 May to 27 November 2016 in the Giardini and Arsenale venues in Venice.
Improving the world with architecture and design – this challenge was also once taken up by the Bauhauslers. “The needs of the people, rather than the need for luxury” was for example the call of the second Bauhaus director Hannes Meyer, whose principles of collective design were later continued among other places also in Chile. “For me the Bauhaus is of importance because of its excellent ethical practice”, stated Alejandro Aravena recently in an interview with the journal ‘bauhaus’ (issue 7). “The purity of these principles is still well worth striving for in a world that appears to be governed by impermanence, immediacy, turnover and profit.”