Karlsruhe | Exhibition | till 17.5.2020

The exhibition takes up the idea of a Totaltheater – total theater – using large format projections, it creates the spatial effect of extended forms of films practiced at the Bauhaus.
A tribute to the Bauhaus world of moving images!


Bauhaus director Walter Gropius designed this total theater in 1926/1927 for Erwin Piscator, which by using multiple film projectors also sought to “set the space under film.” The exhibition, curated by Markus Heltschl, Thomas Tode, and Peter Weibel, focuses on this visionary idea of immersion using simultaneous large scale projections of sixty films. Because the films are of different lengths new connections between them arise continually. New research has shown that 28 Bauhaus authors were engaged in work on films or light projections, including Ellen Auerbach, Ella Bergmann-Michel, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, and Kurt Schwerdtfeger.

Kaj Delugan
Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (l. am Klavier), Theo Bogler (m.), Marli Heiman (r.) an der Apparatur, bei der Aufführung von Kreuzspiel, um 1924


Films have also been rediscovered that were thought to be lost and others identified that were projected at the wrong speed or with the sequences in the wrong order. Now it is possible to show these films in their original form and thus to present for the first time the scientifically researched and restored cinematographic legacy of the Bauhaus. Thematically and formally the films fall into four categories: Abstract films, political and experimental film essays, reform movement architecture films, and expanded cinema.

One of the most innovative visual artists of the twentieth century, Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy placed film and photography at the center of his thinking about Neues Sehen – New Vision. Moholy-Nagy tried in vain to establish a central experimental film section at the school, but nevertheless the Bauhaus artists succeeded in creating an extraordinary large body of film works outside it.

Hattula Moholy-Nagy
László Moholy-Nagy: Alter Hafen in Marseille – Marseille Vieux Port, 1929/1932



Persecution by the Nazis, emigration, and war destroyed a part of the Bauhaus films. Some Bauhaus artists were only able realize the films they had conceived in their Bauhaus years after the war. The exhibition highlights particularly the important role played by the Bauhaus women artists. In symbiotic living and working communities they worked on seminal works of German avantgarde film.

The majority of the approaches to film developed at the Bauhaus range from abstract Absolute film, dance films, essayistic studies on reform architecture, and political documentaries to light projections, film clips for theater productions, and cinema architecture.

Adress & Opening Hours


ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien
Lorenzstraße 19 | 76135 Karlsruhe

Opening Hours
Mon, Tue closed
Wed–Fri 10am–6pm
Sat/Sun 11am–6pm