Bauhaus – Art as Life
It’s been almost impossible to avoid the hype (particularly on twitter) surrounding “the biggest Bauhaus survey staged in the UK in over 40 years“, currently on at the Barbican Centre.
Having started at the beginning of May and running until 12th August, this exhibition can only be described as a temporary mecca to the 20th century movement so fundamental to the progression of modern living, and the way design has moved onwards throughout the last century. And it’s really a great spectacle.
As the voice of London’s newest neighbourhood, it’s interesting to draw some parallels between the innovative style of the Bauhaus and East Village. Much like the Bauhaus buildings before it, East Village contains similar levels of attention to detail and architectural brilliance (if you don’t mind us saying so).
East Village exhibits modern and masterfully designed features, with sustainable living at the core of the building’s overall design.
Characterised by its collaborative approach to binding all forms of art together to create a total way of living, the Bauhaus pioneers were intent on creating modern, simplified forms with an emphasis on rationality and functionality. First and foremost, it was a movement for the future.
And indeed this exhibition does a startling job of capturing the very essence of this short (the Bauhaus school was only open from 1919 to 1933) but intense and detrimental style:
“Bringing together more than 400 works, the exhibition features a rich array of painting, sculpture, architecture, film, photography, furniture, graphics, product design, textiles, ceramics and theatre by Bauhaus masters”.
And when they say ‘masters’, they really mean it. You don’t have to be an art guru to register the plethora of household names such as Kandinsky, Breuer and Moholy-Nagy, on show. Photographs from within the school reveal the characters behind all the designs on show and the intimate environment within which they lived.
This is an exhibition full of exquisite detail and masterful crafts. The sheer volume and range of exhibits is amazing and if you take the time to look around the exhibition’s two levels, you may well be there for quite some time – we certainly were.
It’s also worth noting that if you attend the exhibition, as a fancied brainbox of all things Bauhaus, this show is certain to reveal facets of its history that you will definitely not have seen before – rare photographs of regular Bauhaus parties, including lots of whimsical costumes and surreal settings were something we did not expect to see!
But in the words of Ellis Woodman for The Telegraph, “for anyone with even a passing interest in the development of the arts of the past century, it is essential viewing” and we can only agree.