Bauhaus: Art As Life
Review of an exhibition about the work of the Bauhaus
Venue: Barbican, London, UK
It’s hard to believe the achievements of the Bauhaus lay dormant for so many years until the 1968 exhibition at The Royal Academy in London. The exhibition introduced the work of the art school to a new generation looking to break with traditional British institutionalized design. The stark simplicity of form and functional design captured the imagination of students from the growing number of art schools who were looking for ways to express their frustration towards the establishment in demanding social change.
Beautifully curated by Catherine Ince and Lydia Yee, the exhibition was cleverly spaced over two floors and included works from each of the three Bauhaus incarnations in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin over a 14-year period until its demise at the hands of the Nazis in 1933. The shere diversity of output in the fields of furniture, photography, textiles, graphic design, printing, theatre and architecture was astounding. Indeed, Walter Gropius, founding father of the Bauhaus in 1919, considered these disciplines instrumental in his vision for the ‘unification of the arts under the wings of great architecture’.
Perhaps the most revealing dynamic of this exhibition which aided further understanding and meaning to the visionary art on display were the personal photographs and documents highlighting the relationships of both tutors and students in what became known as an ‘artistic and social experiment’.
Bauhaus: Art as Life provided a rich insight into one of the most influential art schools of the twentieth century. The exhibition was well researched, well presented and was thoroughly engaging.