bauhaus imaginista: international program of exhibitions and events in São Paulo, Lagos, and New Delhi

bauhaus imaginista: international program of exhibitions and events in São Paulo, Lagos, and New Delhi

bauhaus imaginista

SESC Pompeia. Photo: Markus Lanz.

October 10, 2018
bauhaus imaginista: international program of exhibitions and events in São Paulo, Lagos, and New Delhi

The 2018 bauhaus imaginista international program continues with the exhibition Learning From at SESC Pompeia, São Paulo, workshops and film screenings in Lagos, and an exhibition and symposium in New Delhi. The bauhaus imaginista series highlights the impact and reception of the Bauhaus across major geopolitical transformations of the 20th century. The Bauhaus was in contact with like-minded individuals and institutions throughout the world, and these connections exerted a profound reciprocal effect on the school. Over the course of 2018 curators Marion von Osten (Berlin) and Grant Watson (London), in cooperation with a team of international researchers, artists and designers, have developed an international program consisting of four separate exhibitions in China, Japan, Russia and Brazil, complemented by discursive events in India, the United States, Morocco, and Nigeria in partnership with the local Goethe-Instituts.

From March 15 to June 10, 2019, the exhibition bauhaus imaginsta, including the fourth chapter Still Undead, will be on view at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (HKW), as part of the Bauhaus centenary.

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From 
October 24, 2018–January 6, 2019
Exhibition / Public program
SESC São Paulo, Goethe-Institut São Paulo (Brazil)

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From at the SESC Pompeia in São Paulo explores the role played by cultural appropriation during the time of the historical Bauhaus, as well as after the school’s dissolution, detailed in three narratives taken from the Bauhaus’s international reception. The exhibition’s point of departure is Paul Klee’s 1927 drawing Teppich (Carpet). This small India ink drawing references traditional Maghrebi carpet patterns, displaying Klee’s abiding interest in non-Western visual cultures—an interest also widely evident at the Bauhaus including through the illustrated books on “world cultures” held in the school’s library.

From the mid 1930s onwards Bauhaus emigres, including Josef and Anni Albers, and Marguerite Wildenhain, traveled throughout the Americas observing, documenting and collecting handicrafts produced by pre-Columbian and contemporary indigenous cultures. Anni Albers and her fellow weavers, including a younger generation of Fiber Artists looked for example to Peruvian textiles, due to their technical brilliance but also because of the high social value afforded weaving in Inca culture. An interest in vernacular handicraft and architectural typologies on the part of former Bauhaus masters is also evidenced by the photographic studies undertaken by Hannes Meyer and Lena Bergner during their sojourn in Mexico.

This turn to the vernacular and to handicrafts was similarly politicized in post-independence Morocco, where rejection of the French Beaux-Arts model by Moroccan artists of the early 1960s led to the re-evaluation of local North African craft traditions such as jewelry, rugs, ceramics, vernacular architecture and murals in the course of their developing a post-colonial style of art and design. Cross-referenced with elements of Bauhaus pedagogy, the concern with Moroccan craft tradition was integrated into the curriculum of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca by a cadre of young artists serving then as instructors, including the painter and graphic designer Mohamed Melehi.

In Brazil, a new design school named the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC)—established by the architect Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi at Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP)—laid claim to Bauhaus lineage through both its curriculum and faculty. This European modernist hegemony was also resisted, leading Bo Bardi to study Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous cultural production in her effort to formulate a specifically Brazilian aesthetic—a pursuit which gained pace after she began running the Museum of Modern Art in Bahia, setting up a school there similar to the IAC. Bo Bardi’s story reflects a broad post-war interest in cultural appropriation, developing new modernist vocabularies by turning to the cultures of marginalized groups.

The exhibition at SESC recounts these stories from the Bauhaus’s afterlife through a wide range of artworks, artifacts, films, documentary material and new artistic commissions. An accompanying discursive program was developed to interrogate these histories and their shared logic of cultural appropriation. Detached from their original context, this “borrowing” strategy occurred contemporaneously with marginalized traditional cultures, such as Brazil’s Indigenous people, witnessing the destruction of their traditional way of life by processes of administrative and economic modernization, and neo-colonial aggression. 

Public program / Discussion on October 25, 2018 at Goethe-Institut São Paulo
Speakers: Ailton Krenak, Ethel Leon, Adele Nelson, Luiza Proença, Suely Rolnik, Cristine Takuá, Paulo Tavares, Marion von Osten and Grant Watson.

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From is produced by the SESC São Paulo and curated by Grant Watson (London) and Marion von Osten (Berlin), with support from researchers Luiza Proença (São Paulo), Maud Houssais (Rabat), Anja Guttenberger (Berlin), Elissa Auther (NYC), and Erin Alexa Freedman (NYC).

bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away
Decolonizing the Campus
November 23–24, 2018
Symposium at 16/16 and at the University of Lagos, Nigeria 

In 1931 the Galician-born student Arieh Sharon completed his studies at Bauhaus Dessau and returned to Palestine to open an architectural office in Tel Aviv. After Israel’s founding, he was appointed head of the State Planning Authority—assuming responsibility for developing new cities for Jewish refugees and migrants—and later becoming involved in Israel’s development aid programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. For the exhibition chapter Moving Away, architect Zvi Efrat is comissioned to produce a short film and research on the University of Ife campus (now known as Obafemi Awolowo University)—the first post-independence campus in Nigeria to possess an architecture faculty, designed by Arie Sharon in the 1960s. Held in Lagos with local and international scholars, the symposium will offer a critical dialogue on design, pedagogy and campus-building at the start of Nigeria’s transition to independence, initiating a discussion between African and European architects and scholars on the decolonizing of the campus and art and architecture curricula.

Speakers include the architects, curators and theorists Kunlé Adeyemi (NLÉ architects Amsterdam/Lagos), Bayo Amole (Ile-Ife University), Abimbola Asojo (Minnesota University), Regina Bittner (Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau), Zvi Efrat (Tel Aviv), Babatunde E. Jaiyeoba (Ile-Ife University), Hannah Le Roux (Wits University Johannesburg) and Cordelia O. Osasona (Ile-Ife University).

The symposium is curated by Marion von Osten (Berlin) and Zvi Efrat (Tel Aviv), in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Lagos.

December 1 & 2, 2018
bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away
Exhibition at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) and symposium on Art and Design Education 
at the India International Centre (IIC)

The exhibition Moving Away, travelling from the China Design Museum (Hangzhou) to open at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (New Delhi) in December 2018, explores the holistic design approach of the Bauhaus and how its practices and debates were adapted, expanded, renewed, or rejected by designers and architects in different social and political contexts.

Coinciding with the exhibition opening, a symposium addressing art and design education on the subcontinent will be held at New Delhi’s India International Centre (IIC). While the Bauhaus is associated with interior design, housing as well as urban planning in the exhibition, its pedagogical influence was also significant. A belief was held at the Bauhaus that reshaping the material environment through design education would lead to a reshaped society. The centenary project bauhaus imaginista provides a unique opportunity to think about art and design pedagogy and its relation to society, taking a transnational perspective. While the project’s main point of departure is the Bauhaus, effort has been taken to avoid obscuring other important educational projects, or thinking exclusively in terms of unidirectional Bauhaus influence. Certain schools may have developed a Bauhaus-style pedagogy through émigré figures, but others worked in parallel or agonistically to a Bauhaus model. The New Delhi symposium will address the relationship between art and design education, culture and society through contemporary and historical Indian examples, including research on Kala Bhavan in the 1920s and 1930s, the National Institute of Design in the 1960s and 70s, as well as more recent educational projects.

The symposium on art and design education is curated by Grant Watson (London) and Marion von Osten (Berlin), in collaboration with Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan (Delhi), Anshuman Dasgupta (Santiniketan), Natasha Ginwalla (Berlin/Colombo) and with Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi.

bauhaus imaginista is a collaboration between the Bauhaus Cooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar, the Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (HKW). The research project with its different exhibitions, workshops and symposia is taking place for the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus. It will be enhanced with international perspectives of the Goethe-Institut and conclude at HKW as part of the long-term project 100 Years of Now in 2019. It is made possible by funds from the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the German Foreign Office.

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October 10, 2018

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