March 26, 2015 - Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum - Hubert Hoffmann
March 26, 2015

Hubert Hoffmann

Hubert Hoffmann and Ignaz Gallowitsch (Planer), High Voltage Hall of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, TU-Graz, Inffeldgasse (detail), completion 1972. Photo: UMJ.

Hubert Hoffmann
All Architecture is Spatial Art

March 27–June 7, 2015

Opening: Thursday, March 26, 7pm

Neue Galerie Graz
8010 Graz
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm

T +43 (0) 316/8017 9700
joanneumsviertel [​at​]

When Hubert Hoffmann finally answered the call to join the Technical University Graz in 1959, where he assumed leadership of the Institute for Urban Development and Regional Planning, he had already passed through an eventful stage in his life: born in Berlin in 1904, he came to the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926, studied under such luminaries as Walter Gropius, Wassiliy Kandinsky, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer, and received his training as an architect under Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Hilbersheimer. He began his professional career in what were surely the most problematic decades of the 20th century: the interwar period, the Second World War and the no-less deprived post-war years. Hoffmann’s professional ethos, which placed “the architect’s responsibility towards society over and above the expertise itself,” was greatly reinforced by the suffering-laden experiences of this period. Yet to no small extent he was shaped by the fertile sociotope that was the Bauhaus, which was marked by an intensively lived cosmopolitanism. Not least of all, Hoffmann himself pushed through the reconstruction of the Bauhaus in Dessau post-1945, attempting to bring together the members of the Bauhaus using painstaking research—at least to the extent of intensive correspondence. 

Seen this way, Hoffmann’s invitation to Graz occurred at a favourable moment, when the immediate emergency of the post-war years had been surmounted in Austria as well, with the country finding itself in a general spirit of optimism. Especially in Styria the “trigon” idea set new, far-reaching standards in the overcoming of ideological boundaries by means of art and culture through actively developing contact with our neighbours to the east. The 1960s also marked the beginning of the so-called “Graz School” of architecture, whose representatives—still widely known today—developed their ideas while still students in the legendary drawing classes of the Technical University, and whose important achievement lay not in the development of a common style, for instance, but rather in the formulation of an uncompromising and, even today, rebellious-seeming architectural language as a counterblast to an out-of-date, fossilised social consensus. 

This climate of open and partly relentlessly led discourse correlated with Hoffmann’s critical approach of democracy. From the beginning, he has introduced emphatically in the urban planning matters of Graz. Following his understanding of the role of a university professor, he saw it as a necessary obligation to speak out critically on current issues. Through his involvement sustainable, incisive interventions in the cityscape could be averted. Hoffmann’s understanding of teaching was no less unconventional. His “Fundamentals of Design,” an induction period for prospective architecture students at the Technical University following the model of the preparatory course at the Bauhaus, also set out to shake up established ideas and patterns of thinking, and to strive for unusual solutions. More than 2,000 students passed through this introductory phase under his tutelage.

The exhibition Hubert Hoffmann. All Architecture is Spatial Art is part of the international research, education and exhibition project The Bauhaus—Networking of Ideas and Practice (BAUNET), with scientific institutions from museums and universities of four European countries participating: Austria with the Neue Galerie Graz at the Universalmuseum Joanneum, Slovenia with the Museum Škofja Loka, Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, and Croatia with the Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in Zagreb, which has also assumed responsibility for the project. 

BAUNET is concerned with the biographies and oeuvres of Bauhaus students from Central and South East Europe with the focus on the former Yugoslavia and with tendencies which, based on Bauhaus or in conjunction with its ideas, helped shape specific locations of architecture and art before and after the Second World War. The Neue Galerie Graz at the Universalmuseum Joanneum is participating at the invitation of the Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in Zagreb, with its contribution on Hubert Hoffmann.

Curated by Peter Peer

Hubert Hoffmann at Neue Galerie Graz
Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
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