The learning bauhaus

The learning Bauhaus

Kurt schwerdtfeger: reflector color light games; light performance, 1922. Picture / reconstruction: courtesy of microscope gallery and kurt schwerdtfeger estate © 2016

Indigenous art helped the bauhaus to discover its modernity

374 years after his time the portuguese archbishop sardinha was still not digested. In 1554, the brazilian tupi indians had incorporated him. That was the occasion to call oswald de andrades in 1928, to finish the cannibalism as a friendly nude. In his "anthropophagic manifesto" he turned around the moral write-ups. The incorporation is annihilation to make something of its own. The bishop had to believe in it because he was representative of the european culture, the raw material of a renewal.

Andrades parabola calls for the creation of a new self-confidence of brazilian artists, to a defensive modernity to free themselves from the colonial shackles, whose cuts were visible 100 years after independence. Brazilian art was up-to-date mimetic, adapted to western cultural imperialism and its training standards.

Pointed the european modern, caught by the bauhaus, the way from mimesis? Or was this a renewed cultural imperialism, this time as an export from concrete and steel? When modernized the worn eclecticism in europe, when adolf loos cluttered ornaments as a crime, how did the bauhaus deal with the protected or sponsored certificates of pre-colonial times? The international interdependence of the bauhaus compromised, once again accelerated by the emigration after 1933, all continents, and the question arises on how this exported bauhaus art was the global process of decolonialization.

The 1936 born moroccan artist mohamed melehi, who taught at the kunsthochschule of casablanca, writes: the bauhaus has "helped us to obtain a consciousness of our own iconographic heritage."1 the main research, the marion of east and grant watson for the exhibition "bauhaus imaginista" have operated until the 10th. June this year in the berliner "house of world cultures"(HKW) run, just raise the ornament as a link between the strict geometry of western modernity and the certificates of indigenous craftsmanship.

The learning bauhaus

The learning Bauhaus

paul klee: carpet. Ink drawing, 1927. Image: edward watkins / loan agreement laura (hans snoek private collection, new york)

The "hanger" forms in the exhibition a ink drawing of bauhausmeister paul klee, which picks up the geometric pattern of a maglebin carpet. In search of an abstract pictorial language that is universally valid, klee was found in pre-modern artifacts. In other drawings, he overcomes the whole sheet with a structure of parallel lines, which suggests the close to textile displeased. The line system is modeled on the chain thread of the loom. From this let KLEE originate ornamental buildings.

The patterns are playful. None repeats; the structure of the flat is steady varied and rhythmized by new elements differently. The patterns occasionally condense spontaneously, so to speak, to figurative or sculptural figures, mostly miniatures. Klees drawings stand for the conversion of web art and architecture.

These "image-known web architectures" on the one hand geometric in the flat bound and on the other hand highly irregular, emerging. The variations of the serial pattern stand for individuality. The dualism of general and individual is at the same time the loan of the new construction at least for the settlement construction. Klee synthesized city architecture and image architecture.2 "transfers of painting to architecture" named the russian constructivist el lissitzky this procedure, which was also characterized for the hollandische kunstlergruppe de stijl and for the moscow kunschochschule wchutema and at the bauhaus also determined the teaching content.


The ornament is, its origins relieved and abstracted, in which modernity arrived, which was first of all the hostile. The superscript manufacturing method of the ornamental pattern is craftsmanship. On such traditions, walter gropius expressed expressively for the primary of the bauhaus 1919. "Art and craft is a new unit." the "werkbund"-thoughts leaded gropius to the gothic and their building huts.

This conservative attitude, which was interpreted by the abolition of alienation in the capitalist society, prompted the bauhaus, in contact with agricultural schools around the world – especially in agrarian countries that are standing on the threshold for industrialization – which against the traditional western academic education operated the revival of indigenous crafts. Already in 1922, the bauhaus presented in calcutta.

The separation between visual and applied art should be canceled. The prejudice of the "artwork" parts of those regional art objects from hand and head work ared of a detailed view of their reception history. Artical arts appear that objects, insofar as they snorted out their context, shipped to europe and commercialized or musalized. "Provenance research" receive a deeper meaning here. A modernity that uses the regional population acts on the night. The bauhaus, which gave up to the world, had to be paid to this realization and changed himself. It discovered his own history as will be showing.

The expressionist emphase, with which gropius had called in 1919 the overall work of all the trades, braked himself in 1923. Now it is art and technology that form the new unit. With the turn to design designs for industry and serial production began the realistic phase of the bauhaus. The bauhaus idea beamed not only in the room, but also in the time after graduating in 1933 in berlin. The most famous is that "new bauhaus" respectively. The school of design in chicago, which was led by laszlo moholy-nagy. Gropius had taught the 1937. The succession of the bauhaus in germany complained the ulm university of design (1953-1968) for itself.

The thesis of marshall macluhan: "the medium is the message" held after the war also in the art of the art, which spread up and into all audiovisual media, the museum space blew and into the open drift. There is also a prototype in the bauhaus, which turns out the exhibition in the HKW: the reflexible color light games, which the student kurt schwerdtfeger constructed in 1922 for the lantern festival.

Schwertfegers apparatus was a kinetic light art, wherein by changing templates of abstract geometric shapes of colored light to musical accompaniment on a projection surface. It was a choreography of colors and shapes. The opposite and loose color segments create an illusion of depth. The plastic impression also suggests the transition in architecture. From the other end, bruno taut took the game by leaving the arms of his house to each other. It is an interplay of image surface, floor space (of the house), wall surface and ceiling surface. That was a motive for the preferential flat roofs.

A similar mechanism had constructed moholy-nagy with his light-room modulator. The title of his last book, "look in motion", lost the sense of the apparatus. Seen in motion on the move in turn sets the room in motion. The viewer is included in the movement.

The audiovisual experiments that no longer tell linear history were continued after the second world war. The pictures were to be raging sequences and the tones electronic. The stroboscope chopped both objects and people. Video art, performances and pop art experiments like that of andy warhol have developed from the small start of a color light game captured for the lantern festival.

The experimental sound and alternating machines were also smaller again. The bauhaus expert muriel cooper from the worked in the nineties at the data visualization. She spoke of "information landscapes", better known as interface design. The physical objects are dissolved. Moholy nagys "look in motion" is translated into the digital age. The design approaches and typographies of modernity have proven to be recoverably for cybernetic graphic principles.

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