Leave Behind a Trail of Light!
Voices on 100 years of bauhaus
Aart van Bezooijen
Burg Giebichenstein, Professor of Material and Technology
The Bauhaus centennial year gave me a better and more detailed understanding of the teacher’s characters and societal context of the Bauhaus school days. Through the discussions at conferences, by seeing unseen prototypes at museums and by conducting a hands-on workshop in the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, I was able to experience Bauhaus much more than just reading about it.
Even though new museums are built for its historical objects and artefacts, the most exciting part of these days were the mindsets (ways of thinking) and the methods (ways of doing) of its students and staff. The different minds and skills that were gathered at the Bauhaus school created an enormous diversity for everyone involved. Just like today, it’s all about the people.
I am glad to still enjoy this diversity in people and projects in my work as consultant and educator. The role and importance of materials in our work is not only to turn immaterial ideas into tangible artefacts. We use materiality to create a common language in bringing different disciplines together in discussing the developments of today and the challenges for a better tomorrow.
From this perspective I believe we are closer to the ways of thinking and making at the Bauhaus than I thought before.
Katrin Budde (SPD)
Chair of the Bundestag Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs
The Bauhaus stands for bold, rational and functional architecture. It stands for modern living. It has led to numerous social housing projects that enabled a broad sector of the population to live in affordable, functional and also appropriate conditions. Today, the Bauhaus buildings are role models and still considered as modern architecture. I have seen a number of the buildings myself, which never cease to impress.
Among the events for 100 years of bauhaus, I would like to highlight the exhibition in Erfurt focusing on Bauhaus women. When the Bauhaus was founded, there were more female applicants than males. Equal responsibilities and rights for everyone were strived for, regardless of their gender. However, Walter Gropius was soon concerned about his school’s reputation if there were too many women there. Just as today, there was also the fear that women could deprive men of their jobs. However, what women achieved in the field of textile weaving, which they were permitted to study, led to a wave of advancements and countless innovative developments.
Although female Bauhaus protagonists are not as well known as their male counterparts, they played a key role in the worldwide success of the design school. Therefore, I am especially pleased that their work has been recognised during the centenary year. 100 Years of the Bauhaus is a long period, but I am convinced that the idea of the Bauhaus will still remain successful a hundred years from now.
[Translate to English:] Zitat Ganguly
Emerita Professor of History of Art at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg
Even the experts and Bauhaus professionals were overwhelmed by the Bauhaus anniversary. Too much! No more! Stop! There has been an almost incomprehensible wealth of publications, exhibitions, events and conferences in Germany. The interest and commitment even in small towns was overwhelming. In a nutshell: the Bauhaus is part of our historical identity.
The international feedback was also considerable. Now there are two or three metres of new books on my shelf, waiting to be studied and read. A new complexity. There are no longer any canonical interpretations. The important new themes I recognise are transfer processes across countries, cultures and generations, as well as female Bauhaus artists. Publications on Hannes Meyer have introduced new political aspects.
Coordinator of the Bauhaus Agents programme
The Bauhaus centenary was so special to me because it represented a culmination of our efforts, making the complex work of the Bauhaus Agents so tangible in concrete: in the two new Bauhaus museums in Weimar and Dessau, as well as the Berlin anniversary exhibition “original bauhaus” at the Berlinische Galerie. It is simply a joy to experience how the Bauhaus Agents’ different methods of communication, all of which are based on input and cooperation by schoolchildren, make every visit to the Bauhaus museums more exciting, alive and emotional, in other words: richer, not just for children and young people, but for all visitors to the exhibitions.
At the same time, it has become clear how important good cooperation between curators, mediators and designers is to give visitors an exhibition experience that has a lasting effect. We are working on using last year’s excellent experiences and the wealth of feedback to transfer the results, methods and experiences of the Bauhaus Agents programme to a sustainable digital platform – for new ideas in education and museum design.
[Translate to English:] Zitat Droste
Editorial team of form magazine
Specialist magazine for design, co-founded in 1957 by Wilhelm Wagenfeld
The Bauhaus anniversary primarily appeared to be a convenient opportunity for manufacturers to use the omnipresent label as a marketing tool for new (and old) products. There was no pioneering, new insight. However, from the perspective of society as a whole, it should not be underestimated how the centenary has contributed to transferring knowledge of the art school from the heads of experts to society, thereby creating a general awareness of the importance of the Bauhaus and design in general as a form of cultural heritage.
Entrepreneur, author and furniture designer
During the Bauhaus year, I decided only to shop in the Gropius-Passagen, or the Bauhaus DIY store in Gropiusstadt. I’m glad the year is over at last. Finally, I can order online again, from the comfort of my tubular steel and wicker chair by Marcel Breuer.
[Translate to English:] Zitat Bezoijen
Architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, London
The original Bauhaus we celebrated in 2019 was “more or less” a patriarchal place. Nevertheless, it was also a first attempt to be a place for gender equality. One hundred years ago, even more women than men went to the school, but only a handful of them managed to become also teachers at the Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus celebration and events all over the world have shown that Bauhaus ideas have not ended and still have a global impact today. The school’s learning culture encouraged experimentation on every level. The Bauhaus Centenary reminded us that rules and conventions are there to be learned, but also to be broken, when necessary.
Like the “Bauhäusler”, we are living again in challenging times with growing right-wing nationalism all over the world. On top of this, we are facing a climate crisis & emergency accelerating faster than even expected. We need perhaps again a revolution and new kind of “Bauhaus spirit”, where all the disciplines would come together to create not just our buildings of the future, but to find also new ways of living to make sure that we will survive and thrive on this little planet.
Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke)
Prime Minister of the State of Thuringia and Chairman of the Bauhaus Association 2019 during the Centenary year
The diversity of the Bauhaus year ensures its lasting effect! In Thuringia, we are proud to declare it a complete success. The Free State continues to regard the Bauhaus as an institution of great international importance. Interested visitors were able to embark on a cultural and political journey of discovery. Our tourist organisation has registered a record number of visitors and overnight stays, while the Bauhaus Museum welcomed over 200,000 visitors in a very short time.
The Bauhaus anniversary has made the effects of the modern art school’s diverse history tangible to a broader public. That includes critically placing the Bauhaus in a historical context. Lastly, the history of the Bauhaus is also a story of political reprisal that ultimately led to the school’s closure and expulsion. That should remain a warning to us to this day.”
More articles on this topic
The bauhaus100 newsletter will be circulated from time to time with news about the Bauhaus Centenary 2019.
An Idea Meets Creative Production
Hardly any institution is so strongly connected to eastern Germany as the Bauhaus. Thuringia , Saxony -Anhalt and Berlin form the geographical backbone of the legendary institution. The fact that without the southern part of the republic, it would not have had some important protagonists and works that made it famous around the world is the theme of an exhibition at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Printed graphics by the Weimar Bauhaus address the question of the artistic roots of Modernity.