Holz, Metall, Gewebe, Farbe, Glas, Ton, Stein, Scherben
We are pleased to announce Holz, Metall, Gewebe, Farbe, Glas, Ton, Stein, an exhibition dedicated to a philosophy and art school that has shaped art, design and architecture over the past 100 years. Expressed today through an experimental reverence for the building, a fusing of disciplines and an elevation of crafts-manship, the Bauhaus and its legacies are paid tribute to in this exhibition in artworks from the past 40 years by Ai Weiwei, James Benning, Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Eriksson, Noa Eshkol, Mario García Torres, Isa Genzken, Sharon Lockhart, Renata Lucas, Michel Majerus, Antje Majewski, Jorge Pardo, Tobias Rehberger, Simon Starling and Pae White.
In the founding manifesto Programm des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar published by Walter Gropius in 1919, he called for the removal of the hierarchies, divisions and ‘complacent isolation’ that he saw within and between disciplines. ‘The ultimate goal of all art is the building! ….Architects, painters and sculptors must learn a new way of seeing and understanding the composite character of the building, both as a totality and in terms of its parts.’
The utopia of building becomes the subject for the works on view by Isa Genzken, Renata Lucas and Ai Weiwei. Genkzen’s New Buildings for Berlin II (2013) and Architekturcollage (2001) reflect at once her provisional and experimental view of the city. An artist critical of the architecture of Post-war Germany, post-wall Berlin and even the New York of the Bauhaus émigrés (as seen in Fuck the Bauhaus: New Buildings for New York,2000), her omnivorous work proposes other solutions. For Renata Lucas, who lives and works in São Paulo, Homeless tectonics (2016) and Folding tectonics (2017) imitate the politicised layers of the city. A blanket ascribed to a dispossessed person or an unsettling newspaper cutting are swallowed by a tile floor and allude to urban socio-economic ills. Ai Weiwei’s Model for Fountain of Light (2012), meanwhile, reimagines Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (1919–20). Today itself a monument to the ideals of Constructivism, it was born out of values shared by the Bauhaus – particularly the holistic, interdisciplinary attitude to construction and embracing of the modern, industrialized world.
To reach the ultimate goal of the building Walter Gropius urged ‘Architects, sculptors, painters—we all must return to craftsmanship! For there is no such thing as “art by profession”. There is no essential difference between the artist and the artisan. The artist is an exalted artisan.’ Exemplifying this approach was the Bauhaus course structure as laid out in an iconic diagram by Gropius in 1922. Following the studies of nature, representation, composition and construction progressed to the seven pillars of textile, color, glass, clay, stone, wood and metal.
The reverence and validation of materials once associated with artisanship is widely seen in the works on view. Textile is a special focus in the compositions by Olafur Eliasson, Andreas Eriksson, Jorge Pardo and Noa Eshkol, while the artisan herself or himself is paid tribute to in the work by James Benning, Sharon Lockhart, Tobias Rehberger and Simon Starling. Benning’s textile AfterGee’s Bend (2013) honors the making of quilts from material offcuts at Gee’s Bend on the Alabama River. Begun by enslaved women to keep themselves and families warm on the Pettway plantation, this particular quilt refers to one made by Missouri Pettway in 1942 in memory of her late husband.
Sharon Lockhart’s photography Models of Orbits in the System of Reference, Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation System (2011) originates from a body of work devoted to the models in wire and mesh made by choreographer, dancer, professor and artist Noa Eshkol. Noa Eshkol’s own Squares (Homage to Klee)(circa 1980s) takes unwanted offcuts of material she was donated and places them into a humble, sewn composition in the mode of Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee. A photograph by Simon Starling cracked teapot (wagenfeld) (2005) illustrates the ambiguous relics of Bauhaus design pieces. While Tobias Rehberger’s josef albers (1994) is one of group of works that recreates the furniture used at documenta I (1955), documenta II (1959) and documenta III (1964) to regard modernist and Bauhaus artworks – forbidden under the Nazi regime.
Together the works on view represent the fusing of once-distinct disciplines and new material approaches that have unfolded over the past century. Their work underlines the broad manifestations of this ultimately influential school in contemporary art. As Mies van der Rohe, the third and last Director of the Bauhaus said, ‘You can’t achieve that kind of resonance with either organization or propaganda. Only an idea has the power to spread so widely.’
For further press information and imagery, please contact Sophie Furse at neugerriemschneider:
+49 30 288 77277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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