Commemorations

Photo/Foto: Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern.

Bauhaus imaginista

The Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, emerged as a school for a new kind of design. The Bauhaus brought together a generation of students and teachers whose stated desire was to put an end to Europe’s past. Artistic avant-gardes, along with the radical pedagogical ideas such as those promoted by the Bauhaus, shaped the Weimar Republic, which was the first fully democratic society in Germany. By transforming the educational environment and by combining art, handicraft, design and architecture, the Bauhaus founders thought existing social conditions would also be reformed. The new creative practices, ways of working and ways of living developed at the Bauhaus were all aimed at liberating people from the past.

The Bauhaus was a cosmopolitan project from its inception. The research and exhibition project Bauhaus imaginista proposes a new interpretation of the Bauhaus as a globally connected institution and as part of modernity that drew its impulses from encounters and exchanges with different cultures. In this respect, the transfer of ideas which the Bauhaus participated in is not a story of influence and effect but international interdependence. The exhibition explores this history of transnational relationships, correspondence and migrations, one that continued even after the school’s closure in 1933. The show places the Bauhaus in an international context of like-minded projects, discussing avant-garde art schools in other countries and continents.

Four chapters developed over the past two years at various exhibitions, workshops and conferences are each based on a concrete Bauhaus object: the Bauhaus Manifest of 1919 by Walter Gropius (1883-1969), the film by Marcel Breuer (1902-1981): Ein Bauhaus-film. fünf Jahre lang (1926), the drawing Teppich (Tapestry 1927) by Paul Klee (1849-1940) and the reflektorische Farblichtspiele (1922) by Kurt Schwerdtfeger (1897-1966). These objects all serve as starting points for thematic and conceptual chapters, which explore different genealogies of Bauhaus reception and address specific questions relevant to contemporary artistic, cultural and social debates. Another show in the Kunstmuseum Bern presents the Swiss artist Johannes Itten (1888-1967) and Bauhaus. (Source and further information: www.bauhaus-imaginista.org and www.zpk.org).