Berlin | exhibition | until 27.1.2020
The Bauhaus existed for only 14 years in Germany, but for 100 years its ideas have now been passed on and its products relaunched, imitated and further developed. Marking the centenary of the Bauhaus’s founding, the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is presenting famous, familiar and forgotten Bauhaus originals and recounting the history behind the objects.
On the basis of 14 key objects, the exhibition will develop 14 case histories: How did the woman sitting on the tubular-steel chair become the most famous anonymous figure from the Bauhaus? Does the Haus am Horn in Weimar have a secret twin? Why have Marianne Brandt’s tea infusers which were created as prototypes for industrial production always remained one-of-a-kind pieces? original bauhaus sheds light on how unique work and series, remake and original are inseparably linked in the history of the Bauhaus. This is because Bauhaus artists did not see art and technology as opposed to each other. Instead, they used technical innovations to create exceptional works of art, and they took serial production into account from the moment they began drafting their designs. Today there have been almost 100 years of responses to the Bauhaus, as compared to 14 years of Bauhaus production. Reproductions, re-editions and remakes have made the Bauhaus the 20th century’s most influential school of architecture, design and art.
1,000 Bauhaus originals
In an exhibition venue spanning 1,200 square metres, original bauhaus presents over 1,000 Bauhaus originals owned by the Bauhaus-Archiv together with special loans from international collections. These include seven tea infusers by Marianne Brandt shown together for the first time, Oskar Schlemmer’s sketches for the »Triadic Ballet«, photograms by László Moholy-Nagy and Lucia Moholy, the carpet »Thost« by Gertrud Arndt, Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel chairs, as well as numerous smaller objects such as 250 fabric patterns created in the Bauhaus textile workshop, Walter Gropius’s glass slides and index cards, and historical Bauhaus photo postcards. These are supplemented by photo montages by Hanna Höch and her address book from the collection at the Berlinische Galerie, photograms by Man Ray and El Lissitzky and a copy of Oskar Schlemmer’s »Bauhaus Stairway«, which his brother Casca Schlemmer painted in the 1950s.
12 new artworks
Twelve new artworks were created especially for original bauhaus. A video installation by Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck, for example, compares the Haus Am Horn with its dissimilar twin, the Landhaus Ilse. Juliane Laitzsch graphically reconstructs a long-lost Bauhaus carpet. Veronika Kellndorfer transfers Mies van der Rohe‘s Barcelona Pavilion into glass. The artists’ collective Syntop modifies the preliminary course exercises for the digital age. Also on display are new artworks by Thomas Demand, Ursula Mayer, Thomas Ruff, Heidi Specker and Tobias Zielony, among others.
14 case histories
Based on 14 key objects from the Bauhaus era, original bauhaus explores the relationship between production and reproduction, original and copy, one-of-a-kind and series throughout 100 years of Bauhaus history.
The exhibition presents 14 case histories, including:
Production – Reproduction
In 1922 László Moholy-Nagy published a short text entitled »Production – Reproduction«, in which he considered how reproduction techniques could be artistically put to use. Together with Lucia Moholy, he experimented with camera-less photography, projecting images directly onto photo paper. Moholy was not interested in the original as such, but rather the reproduction of his original in what he called photograms, created through repro-photography or reversed exposure. A number of other artists, such as Man Ray, Bertha Günther and Christian Schad were also experimenting with camera-less photography around the same time. Indeed, the process is as old as photography itself and is still used by artists today.
Unity in Diversity
For the first time ever, seven tea infusers by Marianne Brandt are displayed together at original bauhaus. Although the teapots are considered Bauhaus classics today, they were not »master pieces«. At the Bauhaus, students often created works in their courses which consisted of a dual focus on artistry and artisanal training. Marianne Brandt, one of the first women enrolled in the metal workshop, manually wrought the metal to form. Originally produced as industrial prototypes, the tea infusers were to forever remain one-of-a-kinds.
In the small town of Burbach in the Siegerland region there lies the twin sister of the model Haus Am Horn in Weimar, built in 1923 to showcase innovative Bauhaus architecture. The Landhaus Ilse, however, has little resemblance to her twin in Weimar. Although they share similar floorplans, the essential elements differ considerably. Was the architect of the Landhaus Ilse familiar with the Weimar model house? And if so, why then did he build a hybrid that combined the radical approaches of New Building with conventional, middle-class elements?
The Bauhaus was extremely adept at utilising modern media to its advantage. With a series of photo postcards of the new school building in Dessau, the Bauhaus crafted a media-effective image of itself. The photos taken by Lucia Moholy were among some of the most popular views of the Bauhaus in Dessau. Modern architecture was a common postcard motif at the time, and photos of the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau designed by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer were also made into postcards. Unlike conventional holiday greetings, the postcards of new architecture did not serve to celebrate past achievements, but rather mark the advent of a modern future.
The sitting figure wearing a mask is possibly the most famous unknown woman of the Bauhaus. The photo by Erich Consemüller appears in countless publications and has even featured on a record cover. It exemplifies the symbiosis of the most important workshops and techniques at the Bauhaus: furniture, textile, metal, theatre and photography. In this cleverly staged photo featuring a fashionably dressed woman in a skirt and mask, the Bauhaus presented itself as young, clever and chic. As for the identity of the woman, original bauhaus suggests several possible candidates. A photo installation invites visitors to take pictures of themselves as the woman with the mask.
The so-called »bachelor’s wardrobe« on castors by Josef Pohl is a prototype of a multifunctional, space-saving closet for the single man. It captures the spirit of the times as much now as it did back then. The free-standing wardrobe made of lightweight veneered wood symbolises flexibility, mobility, a modest lifestyle and the aesthetics of simplicity. Designed as a sheer cuboid, its cleverly arranged shelving offers ample space for a man’s entire wardrobe – jackets, shirts, trousers, shoes and neckties. At original bauhaus, the Danish designer Sigurd Larsen responds to the historical closet with a contemporary piece of furniture art.
original bauhaus II – Trailer
Marking the centenary of the Bauhaus’s founding, the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is presenting famous, familiar and forgotten Bauhaus originals and recounting the history behind the objects. Here the second trailer.
International Symposium "Taking a Stand?"
Bauhaus and Modernity under National Socialism, in Emigration or Exile and in Divided Germany
29/30 November 2019, Berlinische Galerie
100 years after the historic Bauhaus was founded, the optimism and experimental spirit that characterised housing construction and policy in the Weimar Republic were replaced by profit maximisation and neo-liberal urban planning. In view of the ever-increasing problem of "affordable housing", politicians in particular long for the Bauhaus and associate it with a "social attitude" that is viewed as sorely lacking today.
This forms the point of departure for the symposium. It focuses on the Bauhaus and modernity in the field of tension of politics and economy. It asks how the "social attitude" identified with Bauhaus and modernity, and the associated emancipatory impetus, seeking to shape and change society, became operative in the Weimar Republic. And it considers how these were reflected and transformed in the work of Bauhaus and Neues Bauen architects and Bauhaus designers in the context of various political and economic systems and social formations after the National Socialists seized power.
original bauhaus I – Trailer
Marking the centenary of the Bauhaus’s founding, the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is presenting famous, familiar and forgotten Bauhaus originals and recounting the history behind the objects. Here the first trailer.
original bauhaus III – Trailer
Marking the centenary of the Bauhaus’s founding, the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung’s exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is presenting famous, familiar and forgotten Bauhaus originals and recounting the history behind the objects. Here the third trailer.
Unknown woman in tubular steel chair
The anniversary exhibition “original bauhaus” will enable you to experience another highlight in the Bauhaus year. Based on 14 key objects, the exhibition explores the connections between idea and reception. The curator Nina Wiedemeyer gives you an impression.
If you're planning to visit "original bauhaus" with a group of ten or more people, please register your group prior to your visit here.
Public guided tour in English
Every Saturday at 4.15pm
Every Sunday at 12pm
60 min, free plus admission
Free entry under age 18
No prior registration or booking required
Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
Wednesday–Monday 10 am–6 pm
Closed on 24.12. and 31.12.
Day ticket 12 Euro
Concessions, day ticket 9 Euro
Every 1st Monday in the month 7 Euro
Free admission for under 18s
The centenary exhibition by Berlin’s Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in cooperation with the Berlinische Galerie is supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
More articles on this topic
Appia Stage Reloaded
Dresden | Festival | 8.–21.9.19
In 1912/13 the stage designer Adolphe Appia and the light artist Alexander von Salzmann created the prototype of a new, open theatre stage for the 20th century. This impressive space inspired modern artists worldwide and is regarded as a direct precursor of the Bauhaus ideas.
Alternatives for Living
Blueprints for Lange House and Esters House
Krefeld | exhibition | till 26.1.2020
How do we want to live, how can we and must we live , today and in the future? What forms of cohabitation are conceivable? What potentials, hopes and fears are connected to the globalised, mobile, digital society? In conjunction with the yearlong Alternatives for Living project, the Kunstmuseen Krefeld invited 16 international artists, designers and architects to develop alternative forms of domestic living for Haus Lange and Haus Esters.