Bauhaus,Art as lifeBarbican Art Gallery,LondonVisited June 2012
Bauhaus: the art school seen to embody sober, purist German modernism: form follows function Form Folgt FunktionEugene Batz, “The Spatial Effects of Colors and Forms”from Kandinsky’s course (1929)
The Barbican’s exhibition Bauhaus: Art as Life is irreverent,unexpected, and ranges broadly across documentary material andworks of art and design. Josef Albers’s set of four stacking tablesPaintings, usually overlooked in accounts of the Bauhaus, play astarring role: the entire Bauhaus story is summed up by the gulfbetween Lyonel Feininger’s expressionist “Studio Window”(1919), its surging crystalline planes symbolising Gropius’sfounding Utopian vision, and Kandinsky’s sombre, abstract“Development in Brown” (1933), made shortly before the Bauhauswas closed under Nazi pressure.
Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel Club Chair, Anni Alber’s textiles, WassilyKandinsky’s paintings, Oskar Schlemmer’s costumes and WalterGropius’ buildings...These key pieces sourced from institutes across the globe – inparticular from the three cornerstone collections of Bauhaus: KlassikStiftung Weimar, Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin and Stiftung Bauhaus.
Marcel-BreuerClub chair, 1925–26Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Anni AlbersWall hanging1926 (remade 1964)Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Anni Albers,Tablecoth fabricsample,1930M.o.M.A., New York
Triadic Ballet,the wild theatre design of Oskar Schlemmer
Bauhaus was founded, in Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1919 –the year in which he published what has become known as theBauhaus manifesto, Programme of the State Bauhaus Weimar.Developed from “romantic socialist and utopian aspirations,”the pamphlet called for artists to return to the crafts.“Masters of form” and “workshop masters” would instil formaland theoretical instruction and the technical skills in which torealise them. The products of these workshops would eschewdistinction as either art or craft and instead realise something fargreater, a term that resonates with today’s multidisciplinaryambitions, to unite the arts in Gesamtkunstwerk or, “total workof art.”
WalterGropius, Curriculum GraphStone, wood, metal, fabric, colour, glass and sound – the base for building art