Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bauhaus,part two

Another charismatic and progressive thinking person who taught at Bauhaus was Oskar Schlemmer. The subject which he loved to explore was the proportional perfection of a human body and the things humans are capable of doing with it. His theater workshop at Bauhaus was one of the places where abstraction in dance had been explored for the first time.

Oskar Schlemmer's Stick Dance, 1927. via Retronaut

Reconstruction of Stick Dance at the Centro Universitario SENAC,
São Paulo, Brazil., 2010. via Flickriver

Oskar Schlemmer's love for geometry, mathematics, abstraction and purity of form can be seen so clearly in his Stäbetanz  (Stick Dance). In a motionless position, lines-sticks, as the extensions of a human body, resemble the abstract painting. And as the dance starts and lines start moving, the painting itself starts to dance.

A wonderful reconstruction of this piece was conducted by an art teacher, designer and dancer Isaura da Cunha Seppi, at the Centro Universitario SENAC in São Paulo, Brazil. This was actually a part of a much bigger project conducted from 2008. until 2010. in which not only Stick Dance has been reconstructed, but also Schlemmer's famous Das Triadisches Ballett.

This video is a mixture of two realities, Real and Second life of  the Stick Dance by Oskar Schlemmer. Isaura da Cunha Seppi mixed the video of her real-life performance with machinima which was created using the Second Life in order to explore the idea of boundaries between the real and virtual world narrowing down more and more nowadays.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bauhaus, part one

Where to start when you wish to talk about Bauhaus?

I think I'll start with stunning food photography inspired by Bauhaus, which I stumbled upon some time ago. Masterminds behind these pieces: Nicky&Max.

© Nicky & Max
© Nicky & Max

Bauhaus was not just a movement, but an actual institution as well. Walter Gropius had gathered some of that time's brightest minds around him, such as Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Herbert Bayer, Oskar Schlemmer, Johannes Itten, and founded the Bauhaus School in 1919. All of them stood for strong individuals which was one of the fundamental things behind school's ideology: unlocking the creative potential of each student through insisting on individualism, on one hand and collaborative work, on the other. 

© Erich Consemüller, Lis Beyer or Ise Gropius sitting on the B3 club chair by Marcel Breuer and wearing a mask by Oskar Schlemmer and dress fabric by Lis Beyer, c.1927

What I find interesting is the way the school had operated in its early days.The school had always been trying to make a compromise between utopian, non-compromising, creative spirit and practical minded way of thinking. And it seems to me that in the first years the school leaned more towards the former and from. 1923. under the pressure of community and financial troubles it started leaning towards latter.

Johannes Itten was to me one of the most intriguing professors at Bauhaus. He held an innovative course which taught the students about basics of materials, composition and color. Itten was a fanatic follower of Mazdaznan, a religious health movement which included strict food diets. He incorporated some of Mazdaznan's exercises and breathing techniques into classes in order for students to use their full creative power. He also made rules about food which was to be consumed at school. No meat was allowed, only grains and vegetables, with special emphasis on garlic. The word is that at some point in time all school's facilities and students (!) had that distinctive garlic smell.

 Itten's class, via Kaufmann Mercantile

I love this photo. It gives you a glimpse of working atmosphere in Itten's class. I wonder if that food diet just might had an effect on student's work because at this time they were producing some incredible ideas and creating the most astonishing art pieces.

However, Itten's and Gropius's ideologies started to distinctively drift away from each other. Gropius was insisting on individual art being made with thoughts for the outside world or the industry and Itten rejected this and insisted on art being created without thoughts of its mass production. Finally, Gropius made Itten resign and from this point on, the School made its ideological change in favor of producing art in cooperation with the industry.

While in process of making those photos from the beginning of this post, Nicki&Max were aware of the fact they were being made for no one, they had no commercial value or as they say, they were making them just for themselves.  And they admit, they felt much more creative than when working for a client and they finally felt like they were using their full creative power.