Marianne Ahlfeld-Heymann (attributed), exercise from the class “pictorial form theory” by Paul Klee, 1923–24, drawings; photo: A. Körner, bildhübsche Fotografie, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
The Whole World A Bauhaus
Elmhurst Art Museum | Illinois | 23.02.2019 – 21.04.2019
Exhibition | The Bauhaus was founded 1919 in Weimar, Germany. Between the spirit of new beginnings and the threatening rise of nationalism, the Bauhaus established itself in just 14 years and became a symbol of modern design and an avant-garde way of life. Designs originating in this period are still produced today. But how did the Bauhaus manage to become such an innovative force in design and teaching, and in societies?
The ifa exhibition »The Whole World a Bauhaus« is devoted to this theme in two parts. The exhibition title is programmatic: »The Whole World a Bauhaus« is a quotation from Bauhaus student and teacher Fritz Kuhr (1928). It alludes to the fact that the Bauhaus redefined the parameters of art, crafts, and technology, when Walter Gropius declared the aim of design to include the whole spectrum of design and also social practice in every sense. »The Whole World a Bauhaus« is divided into eight different chapters, each focusing on an aspect of work and life at the Bauhaus between 1919 and 1933. The section on »Floating« explores the Bauhaus interest in motifs of weightlessness and also looks at how glass and skeleton frameworks dematerialized architecture, or how the cantilever chair resting on air became symbolic of an entire design movement.
The chapter on »Experiment« presents objects that were the result of new research into materials and space, and whose dimensions, proportions, and testing of materials were also designed to make mass production possible. While the »Total Work of Art« looks at the synthesis of all the arts, and also of art and science and of art and life, the chapter on »Community« presents key objects documenting everyday life at the Bauhaus, including the famous parties. The chapter »New Man« shows that the Bauhaus was not just based on utopian left-wing politics, but also explored other radical new political and philosophical identities. The chapter »Art, Crafts, Technology« presents the Bauhaus workshops and the products they made, while »Radical Pedagogy« looks at the organisation of the Bauhaus and its teaching practice. Crosscultural relations are explored in the chapter entitled »Encounters«. Cultural relations were encouraged at the Bauhaus through lectures, numerous visitors from around the world, the diverse collections of the Bauhaus Library, and also in the search for new forms in design. There were close contacts with the Vkhutemas art school in Moscow, for example, while Mies van der Rohe attempted to make the Bauhaus more international through partnerships in the USA.
ifa Exhibitions abroad
ifa plans and organises exhibitions of contemporary art from Germany, presenting insights into the fine arts, photography and film, and design and architecture in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These exhibitions tour the world for several years and are shown in international museums all over the world. In our diverse art education programmes we link the German art scene with international artists and cultural institutions and protagonists, setting up cooperation projects and networks. Our exhibitions create local forums for encounter, open up international perspectives, and build sustained stores of knowledge. ifa also provides loans to museums for special exhibitions and presentations.