Collecting together

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ
Glass facade Bauhaus Museum Dessau

[Translate to English:] Absatz 2 – 3

Shortly before the start of the conference, we spoke to Dr. Florian Strob, Research Associate at the Bauhaus Dessau and Project Manager of the conference. We were curious to learn what makes the perspective on Bauhaus collections so interesting. “Many of the Bauhaus objects have fascinating histories. They have passed through many hands and have been placed in a wide range of contexts,“ Florian Strob explains. That is also the aim of the conference, namely in-depth investigation of these three aspects: the stories of the individual objects, neighbourhoods and contexts to which the objects were subjected, and the communication and demonstration of those relationships.

An international museum network is convening for the conference in Dessau. Is there also a piece of the Bauhaus in this eagerness to exchange ideas? “It’s about connecting to what characterised the Bauhaus even before its closure by the National Socialists in 1933,“ Florian Strob explains. “The Bauhaus was and remains a node in the network of Modernity. Today, just as in the past, the radiance of the Bauhaus idea reaches far beyond its place of origin and inspires exchange and collaboration.“

Fortunate exile? The Bauhaus around the world

New York, Zurich, Rotterdam, Hangzhou – the list of museums and collections participating in the conference is impressive and inspired curiosity. What surprises has the Bauhaus year brought and where does the Bauhaus idea have strong roots? “In the USA, the Bauhaus idea was enthusiastically accepted,” Florian Strob explains. “With Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer, two of the most renowned Bauhaus protagonists came to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, while Ludwig Mies van der Rohe brought Ludwig Hilberseimer and Walter Peterhans, further Bauhaus professors, to the IIT in Chicago, after László Moholy-Nagy had already founded the New Bauhaus there. Martino Stierli from the MoMA in New York is our keynote speaker. The Museum of Modern Art had strong ties with the Bauhaus from a very early date.“

The Bauhaus was highly influential in the short time of its existence. How far does that influence reach and what regional surprises were there during the Bauhaus year? Strob answers “Australia“ without hesitation. “With its migration from Europe, the influence of the Bauhaus reached Australia and we are pleased to have Prof. Isabel Wünsche, an expert on the Bauhaus there, at the conference.“

IIT Institute of Design (ID)
Die neue Bauhaus-Frontstufe 1937, Fotograf: Herbert Matter 1140x640 cm

Continuing to discover new aspects of the Bauhaus

How do you move on from such a diverse centenary year? What can people interested in the Bauhaus expect now that they have really learned to enjoy the diversity of its themes? “Basically, things are really just getting going,” Strob enthusiastically replies. “Instead of producing a book at the end of the conference, there will be an online platform. Its core will be a global Bauhaus map with individual object histories. There will also be background information and videos from the conference.“

It seems that a new Bauhaus chapter is just beginning. The wealth of themes is a promising sign that there is still plenty to say about the Bauhaus. What else is there to discover? “The number of Bauhaus originals on the art market is relatively small. Slowly, hitherto less well known Bauhaus students are attracting attention. One interesting theme that we will investigate further is Bauhaus texts. In addition to famous ones, such as the Bauhaus journals, there is a wide range of written works to discover. For instance, the fact that Hannes Meyer published a verse text on building is exciting. Why? And is it really a poem? Generally, we want to investigate how many Bauhaus protagonists wrote texts.“

That is a promising outlook. And for everyone currently interested in enjoying a dose of the Bauhaus, we can recommend the public festivities to mark the birthday of the Bauhaus on December 4, 1926 when the Bauhaus school was officially opened in Dessau. Readings and guided tours will once again allow you to experience the Bauhaus.

    [MBK 2019; Translation: TBR]

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