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"Art and Technology - A new Unity: The Bauhaus 1923 - 1932"
2000-08-10 until 2000-10-23
Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
Dessau, , DE Germany

The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation will be holding its summer exhibition from August 10 to October 23, 2000. Headed Art and technology – a new unity”, it looks at the history of the Bauhaus from 1923 to 1932. Bauhaus director Walter Gropius coined the slogan as the guiding principle for the institution’s future work at its major exhibition in Weimar in 1923.

With this exhibition the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation presents a critical perspective on the Bauhaus as a testing ground for a new design paradigm in which the artist’s creative output was to intermingle with technological innovation. Teaching at the Bauhaus focused – at least in theory – on architecture and design. The function of art was to provide an analytical basis for quality in design. It also played a focal role in shaping the working and living atmosphere at the Bauhaus. And this focal role was reflected in the exhibition’s structure: The exhibition designers have inserted a cube resembling a laboratory in one of the transparent levels of the workshop wing. This white cell” has been chosen as the setting to present almost 100 originals from the collections of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and is subdivided into two thematic sections.

The Architecture and Art section examines how artistic design and design principles were incorporated in the teaching of architecture and how, conversely, architecture and society supplied themes for artistic design.

The Design and Art section illustrates how artists contributed to the teaching of object design and considers how the new culture of the everyday world and object design were reflected in artistic design.

The exhibition has been subdivided along these lines to underline that the work of the Bauhaus, in a historical sense, constantly moved between fine art as a discipline in its own right and its application as a design exercise in the laboratory of Modernism. Both sections – Architecture and Art as well as Design and Art – saw widely differing stages of development under Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the three Bauhaus directors. The masters’ portfolio of 1923, with graphic designs by Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and others, represents the chronological point of departure. The selection of items on display permits visitors to appreciate in an instant which aspects of the Art and technology – a new unity” maxim Gropius’ two successors continued, adapted or else discarded. The Bauhaus building itself manifests the pursuit of a synthesis between art and technology. This explains why it has been chosen as the theme of a large part of the presentation on the light-bathed first floor of the workshop wing. The presentation looks at life in the Bauhaus building, which marked a major break in the institution’s history when it was occupied in December 1926. As Lou Scheper put it: We had our own space around us, so that our perception of space developed and architecture became a reality.” The changes of use during the Bauhaus years and the plans and programs to preserve the building as a property on the World Heritage List today are considered in this context.

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