‘Rethinking the world’: Bauhaus celebrates 100 years

From spiral staircases to curving chairs, the creative yet practical designs of Bauhaus are one of a kind. Next year, the Bauhaus will celebrate 100 years since its founding in Germany.

'Rethinking the world': Bauhaus celebrates 100 years
Staircase in the main building of the Bauhaus University, Weimar. Photo: DPR

Founded by Berlin Architect Walter Gropius in Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus Art School continues to shape art, architecture and design all over the world. In the coming year, Germany will celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus with the motto “Die Welt neu denken”: re-thinking the world.

Hundreds of events are already occurring throughout Germany and across the globe to pay homage to the revolutionary style of design.

The classic designs of the Bauhaus have long played a part in our everyday lives. Wagenfeld’s desk lamp, Brandt’s semi-spherical teapot and Mies's 'free-swigning' chair are amongst those regarded as the most significant.

The school was quickly branded as a breeding ground for modernity, and teachers such as Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky made the school in Thürigen a meeting place for the international avant-garde.

In 1925, the Bauhaus moved to Saxony-Anhalt in east Germany and the up-and-coming industrial city of Dessau. It re-located again in 1933, this time to Berlin. After this move, the political pressure of the Nazis and a drastic reduction of funds forced the Bauhaus to end, and many teachers fled abroad to continue their work. The organizers of the centenary events emphasize that despite its short 14-year existence, the Bauhaus has revolutionized design and artistic thinking worldwide.

The entrance to Berlin's Bauhaus-Archiv. Photo: DPA

“For us, the anniversary is a platform to convey the relevance of the Bauhaus ideas in the 21st century”, says Annemarie Jaeggi, the director of the Berlin's Bauhaus-Archiv, which has the world's largest Bauhaus history collection.

Between 500 and 600 events have been planned in Germany to celebrate. These events include exhibitions, readings, performances and round table discussions. A highlight of the planned events is the ‘Grand Tour Modernism’ programme, which takes visitors on a specially designed route to 100 iconic places of architectural history throughout Germany.

The featured sites include the UNESCO-protected Horseshoe Estate in Berlin, the Black Forest Hall in Karlsruhe and the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden.

“We do not want the anniversary to be about celebrating something historical. Instead we want it to show the traces that the Bauhaus has left to this day”, says Christian Bodach, head of the office of the Bauhaus Association in Weimar.

Ludwig Mies's 'free-swinging' chair in Stuttgart Stadtmuseum. Photo: DPA

The three Bauhaus institutions in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin will also play a central role in the anniversary year. In three major exhibitions they will present a comprehensive view of the Bauhaus legacy with the use of previously unseen treasures from their collections.

The year will also be marked by a large opening festival in Berlin with the patronage of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. From January 16-24th, 2019, the Academy of Arts will focus on the influence that the Bauhaus had on theatre, dance, film and music. Selected international artists will be invited to develop their visions for the 21st century as “radically contemporary”, just of those of the school’s founders once were.

The Kornhaus in Dessau, designed by Bauhaus architect Carl Fieger and opened in 1930. Photo: DPA

The exhibition and research project Bauhaus Imaginista has been running since this spring. In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and well-known museums in Japan and China, Russia and Brazil, researchers and artists are discovering the movement’s global interconnections. India, the USA, Morocco and Nigeria are also taking part. The outcome of the project will be presented in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin in 2019.

However, the biggest birthday gift is the new buildings being built in the three Bauhaus cities. In the coming years, a total of more than 6500 square meters of new exhibition space will be created. The 52 million euros required for the project are coming from the budget of the Cultural Minister, Monika Grütters (CDU), in the hope that this is how the Bauhaus legacy will be preserved for future generations.

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Eight online events in Germany not to miss in February 2021

With tougher Covid-19 restrictions now in place in Germany, travelling and socialising have become increasingly limited. So we’ve compiled a list of fun events for you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

Eight online events in Germany not to miss in February 2021
The entrance to Berlin's Alte Nationalgallerie. Photo: DPA

Here are some events and ongoing activities to look out for in February.

Berlin Philharmonic returns to the 1920s, Saturday, February 13th 2021 at 6:45pm

Berliner Philharmoniker is streaming the 1920s First Symphony Opera, one of German composer Kurt Weill’s early performances. 

As described by the orchestra, this piece’s music is “captivating and triumphant”. The music was composed in 1927 and its story takes place in ancient Greece. 

Final Girls Film Festival, February 4th at 1pm to February 8th at 11:59pm

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival showcases horror cinema that’s directed, written, or produced by women and non-binary filmmakers. 

The festival is committed to creating space for female voices and visions, whether monstrous, heroic or some messy combination of the two, in the horror genre.

Berliner Festspiele, Strong Pieces Stream, Until March 

Berliner Festspiele is showing two of their top picks.

“The Misanthrope” is a Molière’s classic staged by Anne Lenk, and translated by Jürgen Gosch and Wolfgang Wiens. It’s been called a straightforward delight with an exceptional concentration of language and wit. 

And “Man appears in the Holocene” is staged by Alexander Giesches after Max Frisch’s novella about mankind’s Sisyphus-struggle against their own doom.

König Gallerie, 'Dreaming of Alligator Head' by Claudia Comte, January 21st 2021- January 12th 2022

With her digital solo exhibition Dreaming of Alligator Head, Comte creates a scenario that is impossible in reality: She plants her underwater sculpture park in the König Gallerie app. The digital visitors inside experience a fascinating underwater world without having to go on a physical journey. 

Comte also seeks to raise awareness of marine environments and ask how an artistic object can change the world. Check out the exhibition on the König Gallerie app. 

Galerie Tanja Wagner, How to be human, until February 13th 2021 

Celebrating 10 years of the opening of her contemporary art gallery, Tanja Wagner’s exhibition, How to Be Human showcases her personal favourite works of artists she has collaborated with.

It includes Grit Richter’s famous work, Das Letzte Wort, as well as other works that in Wagner’s opinion, seek to explore the question ’How to Be Human’. 

Alte Nationalgalerie Online, until further notice

The Alte Nationalgalerie was set up as a “sanctuary for art and science”. The idea for a national gallery was realised after the donation of a collection of paintings by Caspar David Friedrich to the Prussian state. 

Since Covid-19 has made it difficult to visit the otherwise very popular museum, the gallery has made its collection available online until further notice. 

Naturkundemuseum Berlin, Beats and Bones Podcast and Livestream, Mondays at 7pm, until further notice 

Berlin’s Naturkundemuseum is offering a podcast series where nature experts from the museum answer questions about the diversity of nature, evolution, the formation of the earth, climate change and insect death.

They explore questions such as “Who knows our earliest ancestors were 480 million-year-old jawless fish?” Or, ‘What is the Achilles heel of Tyrannosaurus rex’? 

Catch new episodes every Monday on Instagram, along with a live stream through the museum with experts accompanying you through the collection and exhibition. The previous episodes are available on Spotify as well as Youtube. 

Anne Frank Zentrum, All about Anne, until further notice 

The Anne Frank Zentrum's exhibition “All about Anne” is normally presented at Hackescher Markt in Berlin-Mitte. Since lockdown, the exhibition has been made available online. 

Its exhibition tells the story of Anne Frank's life and the time in which she lived. It also explains why her diary is so well-known today and shows that her thoughts are still relevant.