The Bauhaus is the most influential art and design school in history. In this its centenary year, Bauhaus Now! explores its legacy in Australia—both for contemporary artists and for art education—highlighting its visionary, collectivist ideals and its radical practices.
Bauhaus Now! curated by Ann Stephen opens at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne Southbank on Friday 26 July until Sunday 20 October 2019.
The exhibition reveals a range of contemporary experiments inspired by the Bauhaus diaspora. Artists and students across several art, design and architecture schools will exhibit forms of creative play, while questioning and challenging conventional ideas and practices.
Installation view, Bauhaus Now! Buxton Contemporary – The University of Melbourne, 26 July until 20 October 2019. Photography Christian Capurro
Major features include:
A brilliant display of lanterns and costumes made, worn and carried by art students from RMIT and the VCA inspired by the early Weimar Bauhaus mid-winter festivals, will be accompanied by historic and contemporary footage of the parade.
A video performance installation by artists Mikala Dwyer and Justene Williams. Inspired by the Bauhaus diaspora forced to flee Germany, the main downstairs gallery will have at its heart a thistle garden.
The garden will be surrounded by banners and video screening apparitions of the expelled Bauhaus masters – Johannes Itten, Lothar Schreyer and Paul Klee. They too will be with a number of their students, including projections of Adams-Teltscher, Dicker-Brandies, Hirschfeld Mack and Herzger-Seligmann. All will sing from coffins, with the music inspired by Lothar Schreyer’s Bauhaus musical score.
Six contemporary artists who have worked with Bauhaus ideas will exhibit recent work including Elizabeth Pulie who, inspired by the Bauhaus weaving workshop, has made a new series of woven wall hangings.
A form of weaving also underpins Rose Nolan’s text-based constructions. Shane Haseman will reinterpret his Dance of the Primaries (2005-2019) – it baldly steals its grammar of abstract colour figures from Oscar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus theatre work, Triadic Ballet. Jacky Redgate will show a new series of Light Throw (Mirrors) Fold 2018-19 also based on the primaries.
Two reconstructions will demonstrate the most celebrated Bauhaus experiments with colour and light. The first is a reconstruction by Michael Candy of Hirschfeld Mack’s Farbenlicht Spiele, (Colour-Light Play) a proto-Kinetic mechanical device for colour/music fusion.
The other contemporary recreations are two machines by Christopher Handran: Light Space Replicator (kinetic object) and Light Play 3D (stereoscopic video) relating to Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator (1922-30) highlighting its original multiple purposes (as projection device for “visual music”; a pedagogical tool; a prop for the projection of a film (Lichtspiel (Light play) of 1932).
The first-floor gallery will also display original Bauhaus archival source material including postcards, drawing, magazines and prints, with a focus on the Bauhaus legacy in Australia through three former Bauhaus students who came to Australia: Gertrude Herzger-Seligmann, Georg Teltscher and Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack. In addition, Melbourne University Architecture, led by Philip Goad, will prototype a series of Abstract Toys.
Curator Ann Stephen
Ann Stephen’s curatorial career has been in public and university museums. She is currently Senior Curator of the University Art Gallery, Sydney University Museums, a role that she has occupied since 2009.
Ann has developed a number of significant exhibition projects including; Women and Power, University Art Gallery, Sydney University Museums, 2015; J. W. Power: Abstraction-Création, Paris, 1934, with, University Art Gallery, Sydney University Museums, National Library of Australia, Canberra and Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2012; Narelle Jubelin: Vision in Motion, Sydney Festival with University Art Gallery, Sydney University Museums, Monash University Art Gallery and Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, 2012; Mirror Mirror then and now, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane with University Art Gallery, The University of Sydney, and Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide 2009-10.
Ann has a national and international publishing record in modernism and Conceptual art. She has been awarded several significant grants and prizes for her academic work, was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2009 and has been chair of Art Monthly Australasia since 2014.
Ann Stephen is available for interview.
Bauhaus Now! opens Friday 26 July until Sunday 20 October 2019 at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne Cnr Dodds St & Southbank Blvd, Southbank. Entry Free. Wed – Sun 11am – 5pm; Thur 11am – 8pm. https://buxtoncontemporary.com/