Bauhaus: ‘Art as Life’ 26 April 2012 – 12 August 2012 Barbican Art Gallery
The Barbican is to hold the biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over 40 years. It will present the modern world’s most famous art school
which was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar Germany. In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the idea of creating a ‘total’ work of art in which incorporated all arts, including architecture,design and painting.
From its expressionist beginnings to a pioneering model uniting art and technology the Bauhaus’ utopian vision sought to change society in the aftermath of the First World War. Bauhaus: Art as Life explores the diverse artistic production that made up its turbulent fourteen-year history and delves into the subjects at the heart of the school: art, culture, life, politics and society, and the changing technology of the age.
One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology. The machine was considered a positive element, and therefore industrial and product design were important components. Vorkurs was taught; this is the modern day “Basic Design” course that has become one of the key foundational courses offered in architectural and design schools across the globe. There was no teaching of history in the school because everything was supposed to be designed and created according to first principles rather than by following precedent.
Bauhaus: Art as Life will feature a rich array of painting, sculpture, design, architecture, film, photography, textiles, ceramics, theatre and installation. Exemplar works from such Bauhaus Masters as Josef and Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Hannes Meyer, László Moholy-Nagy, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Gunta Stölzl, will be presented alongside works by lesser-known artist Masters and Bauhaus students .
The Bauhaus: Art as Life public programme will feature a host of workshops, talks, films and performances as well as a major Creative Learning initiative, the Bauhaus Summer School, an intensive two-week school held at the Barbican and led by leading practitioners from all artistic backgrounds. The Bauhaus had a major impact on art, architecture and design trends in Western Europe and the United States for nearly a century, making it an inspirational part of our everyday lives.