Although Bauhaus is relevant throughout history, this German school of art remains an open issue in art, architecture, design, and communication, addressing the following question: To what extent is Bauhaus even possible nowadays? Thus, this was our question for the Art Style Magazine’s Bauhaus Special Edition.
Therefore, in an attempt to showcase some of the most important issues so our readers can attain a broad notion of this German school’s legacy, our Editorial Team has been working diligently and participated in several significant events, talks, round tables, and exhibitions. The opening festival and construction of the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, for example, offered a great view of the importance of the Bauhaus. Above all, in the sense of arts and crafts in connection with industry, this school outlined a relationship of teaching design from product development, consumption to the changes of living together.
Recently, the so-called “Fishfilet scandal” – an attempt to prevent a live event by a German rock band – was an important facet in the discussion that the Bauhaus still plays a significant role in the political scene. As artists and politicians said, the ban on concerts means a “terrifying history” for Bauhaus-Dessau. A month ago, we heard news from a round table, and artistic interventions under the title “How political is the Bauhaus?”. These talks had taken place in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin on January 19, 2019. It was part of the opening festival of Bauhaus’s centenary and supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Among many exciting themes are highlights such as Educational Theory, Education of Society, Housing Question, Urban Development, Emancipation, Internationalization, and the Political Role of Cultural Institutions.
Another essential Bauhaus theme is the role of women. Therefore, as far as I can understand, at the beginning of the 20th century, Bauhaus school was one of the first art schools in Europe to accept women. An effort against the conservatives, it was a vanguard attitude! Just compare with the art academies in the same period! The effects are obviously of great importance in addressing the participation of women as professional in modern society and still in development. So, happily, today, women have greater involvement in many other areas in practice and theory in the art world due to the Bauhaus initiative.
In this way, the essays published in Art Style Magazine’s Bauhaus Special Edition are acutely aware of the real significance of the Bauhaus in this period between 1919 and 1933 and about its legacy worldwide.
For a detailed discussion on what this model of art school offers for our generation and social discourse today, this special issue opens with an interesting essay by Jörg U. Lensing, founder and Artistic Director of the THEATER DER KLÄNGE, Düsseldorf, and Professor for Sound Design at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany. Professor Lensing addresses concerns and highlights potentially positive aspects of Bauhaus and his work on the Mechanical Ballet by Kurt Schmidt, the Mechanical Eccentricity by László Moholy-Nagy, and both The Triadic Ballet and The Lacquer Ballet by Oskar Schlemmer. It is followed by Martina Sauer’s essay, “The Better Form: Josef Albers’s Idealistic Concept of Art Reveals its Socio-Cultural Function.” Martina Sauer, as a scientific associate at Bauhaus-University Weimar and museum educator at Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Germany, highlights that arts are both techniques and functions for the bad or the good, analyzing Josef Albers’s artistic research. Beyond the socio-political aspects during Bauhaus’s existence, the essay “Politics and the Staatliches Bauhaus: Function versus the Curve of the Time” by Charlotte Thibault and Waldenyr Caldas deal with the international repercussion of Bauhaus representations, analyzing the architecture of Walter Gropius and Oscar Niemeyer. Then, still discussing the aesthetic-social aspects, the Editorial Team intends to investigate the Bauhaus, society, and industry. Also, seeking an accurate answer to our main question, Bürdek’s interview is enlightening. Bernhard E. Bürdek is Professor at the Academy of Art and Design in Offenbach, Germany, and has studied at the Ulm Design School, and author of Design: The History, Theory, and Practice of Product Design. Finally, I attempt to outline the differences and similarities between art and design and show the technical aspects of both, as well as the Bauhaus’s legacy of unifying fine and applied arts into the visual arts, well known today. For instance, I highly recommend the exhibition “bauhaus | documenta. Vision and Brand.” The event is due to take place to commemorate the centenary of Bauhaus as an “opportunity to view both cultural brands parallel and become a mirror of the role and function that art and culture play in society” (documenta 2019). At last, Victor Aquino focuses on representations of the air and aesthetic analysis of the content, form, and function.
To summarize, most importantly, I think, what this “German” art school possesses in its way is a multicultural influence as an inheritance to build a better world. As stated by professor Lensing, “One can work on a concept for new humankind in a better, more peaceful society,” and the ideals of the “golden twenties” should be alive. All this brings together the full values of living under the ideal of democracy in the present. Also, it is essential to think about what we still experience in the field of art: “to create the possibility […] for the new” (Gropius 1919).
Enjoy your reading!
Christiane Wagner, editor-in-chief