Exhibitions: Bauhaus Art as Life

It is near impossible to be a designer in this day and age and not have been in one way or another influenced by the Bauhaus. The modern world’s most famous art school operated relatively briefly – between 1919 and 1933 – yet it changed the way we see, think and create. Bauhaus united art and technology, its utopian vision sought to change society in the aftermath of the First World War.

Masters on the roof of the Bauhaus building c. 1926. From left: Joseph Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, Georg Muche, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Gunta Stolzl and Oscar Schlemmer, Courtesy Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin/Centre Pompidou Paris. © Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin/Centre Pompidou ParisFounded by architect Walter Gropius, the school changed location in Germany from its first home in Weimar to Dessau and finally Berlin before its members were dispersed before the Second World War. Even after its avant-garde teachers and pupils had emigrated to Europe, the US and beyond, the Bauhaus style remained the most influential movement in design and architecture.

It seems completely fitting that the Barbican – itself a brilliant example of 60s utopian thinking – should host one of the most comprehensive, and exciting, exhibition in the UK in over 40 years.

T Lux Feininger, Sport at the Bauhuas, Circa 1927 – At the Barbican. © Bauhuas:Archiv BerlinBauhaus: Art as Life explores the diverse artistic production which 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. The exhibition features a rich array of painting, sculpture, design, architecture, film, photography, textiles, ceramics, theatre and installation.

There are examples on display from teachers at the school including 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.

It features a host of workshops, talks, films and performances as well as the Bauhaus Summer School, an intensive two-week school held at the Barbican and led by leading practitioners from all artistic backgrounds. In short, this is an exhibition not to be missed by anyone interested in design.

Bauhaus: Art as Life is at the Barbican in London, UK from 3 May to 12 August 2012.
The exhibition in co-operation with Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / Museum für Gestaltung, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau and Klassik Stiftung Weimar.

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