• Art
  • Bauhaus kicks off!


Bauhaus kicks off!

This year is all about celebrating the 100th anniversary of the German art and design movement. Even though Berlin’s two most prominent Bauhaus buildings are inopportunely closed for renovation this year, two highlight exhibitions are finally open.

Image for Bauhaus kicks off!
Arieh Sharon digital archive
In case you have been living under a rock: 2019 is all about celebrating the 100th anniversary of the German art and design movement. Even though Berlin’s two most prominent Bauhaus buildings are inopportunely closed for renovation this year (Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie reopens in 2020 and the Bauhaus Archive in 2022) two highlight exhibitions are finally open. Designing Bauhaus: The sources of a movement With over 300 fantastic objects including furniture, graphic design, paintings and ceramics, this show depicts the fundamental movements that shaped Bauhaus in terms of design history. Starting in Britain after 1800 with the Arts and Craft movement, affirmed by British designer William Morris, this exhibition moves chronologically through the Glasgow School of the 1870s, onto Art Nouveau sideboards and chairs and the Vienna Secession, a movement opposed to prevailing conservatism in art after 1897. Finally, colourful and geometrical objects such as Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s 1923 toy wheelbarrow from the Dutch De Stijl movement lead directly into Bauhaus. Text-heavy introductions to designers and architects shine light on interesting connections with and tangents from the earlier movements: how Morris’ influence spilled over to the Netherlands around the 1900s and how Bauhaus eventually broke with the strict ‘crafts’ tradition and implemented serial production. Highlights include an original Morris curtain from 1876 and a vast installation of ceramics. However, you will notice an imbalance in favour of Bauhaus: the larger and more diverse selection of objects, films and paintings is on the Bauhaus floor. But all in all, this is an informative trip through the decorative arts of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Bauhaus without Borders: The school’s global impact Founded in 1919, the Bauhaus School was forcibly closed only 14 years later by the Nazis in 1933. Consequently, many of its teachers and pupils took themselves into exile around the globe. HKW’s new show tackles the international influence of the movement with over 200 objects, including photography, film, sculpture, painting and architecture. It tells stories like that of Josef Albers, who joined the school as a student, became a teacher alongside Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee and went on to become a professor. After emigrating to America in 1933 to head up a new art school at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, he taught students including Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly and later joined Yale University. Another story to be found in the exhibition is that of Israeli architect Arieh Sharon. A student at the Bauhaus until 1931, he returned home to create the work he’s best known for: private houses, cinemas and hospitals. Less well known is the University of Ife campus in West Nigeria that he co-designed in the 1960s – a firm concrete modernist finger to the recently departed British colonial rulers, who had haughtily suggested there was no need for a university in the area. Alongside stories like these are specially commissioned works by eight international artists responding to Bauhaus locations in Asia, Africa and the Americas. This exhibition is the first to reveal the transnational story of Bauhaus, and for an arts school with such a resonant impact on material culture even today, you know it’s going to be a fascinating tale. From Arts and Crafts to the Bauhaus. Art and Design – A New Unity! Jan 24 – May 5 Bröhan Museum, Charlottenburg | Bauhaus Imaginista Mar 15 – Jun 10 Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Mitte