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2019: Bauhaus and beyond

From the big Bauhaus anniversary to local newcomers, this year promises plenty of exciting art exhibitions to look forward to.

Image for 2019: Bauhaus and beyond

Lichtspiel von Oskar Schlemmer, 1927, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek

From the big Bauhaus anniversary to local newcomers, this year promises plenty of exciting art exhibitions to look forward to.

It’s a new year and you won’t be able to miss the biggest art anniversary of the year: 100 years since Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Weimar. Celebrations will be happening not only in the birthplace of the 20th century’s most influential design school, but also in Berlin, where it was ultimately closed down by the Nazis in 1933. The anniversary celebrations kick off in January with 100 Years Bauhaus. The opening festival at Akademie der Künste in Tiergarten’s Hanseatenweg (Jan 16-24) will be a week of contemporary international performances, music and film. One of the many highlights here will be Voll Stoff Extra, a quirky lyrical musical performance involving sewing machines as homage to female Bauhaus artists like Anni Albers who mostly worked with textiles (Jan 18). Also not to be missed is the light installation light.shadow.traces (Jan 17-24) with pieces by Bauhaus veteran László Moholy-Nagy in correspondence with contemporary artists such as French sculptor Christian Boltanski. A new ballet production interprets Bauhaus painter and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet (Jan 21-22) which brings an unforgettable avant-garde dance event of the 20th century to the Berlin stage and features bright and fantastic costumes reconstructed precisely from the 1922 premiere. If you want to really immerse yourself, the interactive virtual reality installation Das Totale Tanz Theater 360 (Jan 17-24) lets you step onto a Bauhaus stage with digital figures dancing to music by Berlin’s Einstürzende Neubauten.

Aside from AdK’s festival jot down two photography shows worth seeing: First, there is bau1haus – the modern in the world (Jan 16-Mar 14) at Willy Brandt Haus, where Berlin-based photographer Jean Molitor shows his architectural Bauhaus photo journeys across the world; and then you have Bauhaus and Photography (Apr 12-Aug 25) at the Helmut Newton Foundation – a vast group show with contemporary artists responding to a reconstruction of Moholy-Nagy’s famous 1920s avant-garde photography. The international exhibition and research project Bauhaus Imaginista already travelled the world – from New Delhi to Kyoto – and will have its big finale Still Undead at HKW (Mar 15-Jun 10), looking at Bauhaus’ influence on a spectrum of artistic forms from cinema to experimental photography – and even punk!

The ambitious renovation of the Bauhaus Archive is badly timed, meaning it will remain closed during the anniversary year, but once the museum reopens, it will have extra exhibition rooms made of glass. Luckily there are plenty of other locations: Bröhan Museum will be exhibiting more than 300 design highlights in From Arts and Crafts to Bauhaus. Art and design – a new unity (Jan 24-May 5), including furniture, graphic design and ceramics. Finally, the BerlinBauhausWeek (Aug 31-Sept 8) will take over Berlin’s public spaces by decorating a number of shop windows in Kantstraße, around Savignyplatz and parts of Potsdamer Straße. It will also bring a glass house to Ernst-Reuter-Platz, which will host exhibitions, performances and the lecture series Bauhaus in practice today where architects, designers, curators and typographists are set to elaborate on the school’s ongoing influence.

If you want a break from Bauhaus – there is still plenty to come in 2019 – the city is celebrating its artists: “Berlin will always love you”, or as Gropius Bau titled one of its upcoming shows: And Berlin Will Always Need You. Art, Craft and Concept Made in Berlin (Mar 22-Jun 16). With over 20 Berlin-based artists, the show will be applauding newly commissioned installations and works around craftsmanship, décor, materiality and artefacts. If you’re looking for even more young Berlin talents, look no further than KW Production Series: for its second year Mitte’s KW Institute for Contemporary Art commissions the work of two Berlin-based artists: Andrea Büttner and Rachel O’Reilly. Their brand new works will be showing in fall 2019. Shifting the focus onto Berlin’s music and club scene, NO PHOTOS! 30 Years of Berlin Club Culture (Sep 14-Jan 12) at C/O Berlin is going to feature photographs and documentary material revealing the development of Berlin club culture over the past thirty years. An exhibition during the day, at night C/O will turn the space into a club where you can dance alongside live DJs in the show. Without the dancing but even more music, PalaisPopulaire is planning to celebrate the influence of ‘love and peace’ on art, music, and fashion as well as society with Summer of Love. Art, Fashion and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Jul 14-Oct 28). From vinyl covers to photography, interactive music and light shows, you won’t be able to avoid soaking up some hippie love and sunshine. Equally colourful fashion and fun will be on show at the Kunstgewerbemuseum, which will be looking at Afro influences and Connecting Afro Futures. Fashion – Hair – Design (Jun 21-Sep 29). If in need for inspiration on what to eat (or not), cooking is the centre of Food for the Eyes. The Story of Food in Photography at C/O Berlin (Jun 8-Sep 8). From art history to social media, this promises to give an overview across artistic and commercial imagery of food.

There is also a bunch of exciting solo retrospectives coming up: A German Legend. Emil Nolde and the Nazi Regime (Apr 12-Sep 15) at the Hamburger Bahnhof will display around 100 works, some of which have never been shown before. The exhibition is going to shine a light on the work of this prominent victim of Nazi censorship, but also his early sympathy for Hitler and the National Socialist regime. Famous photo reporter Stefan Moses’ retrospective The Exotic Country (Feb 1-May 12) at the Deutsches Historisches Museum reveals intriguing reportages from Germany and around the world as well as portraits from the 1950s onwards. Don’t miss British artist Jonathan Monk’s take-over of the impressive former brewery spaces at Kindl with a brand new immersive photography installation (Mar 10-Jul 21). For a quick Paris getaway, go and see impressionist icon Gustave Caillebotte. The Painter Patron of the Impressionists (May 17-Sep 15) at Alte Nationalgalerie, including his famous paintings of Parisian streets. Berlinische Gallery will give Berliners a rare opportunity to rediscover the work of German-Swedish painter Lotte Laserstein: “Face to Face” (Apr 5-Aug 12) with 60 paintings brought together from various museums. As this cultural menu shows, Berlin will be celebrating local talents from Bauhaus to 21st-century newcomers – and we’re in for a boatload of treats!