bauhaus
imaginista
Edition 1

Corresponding With

Lyonel Feininger, Kathedrale [Cathedral], 1919, Cover and one page of the manifesto
and programme of the Bauhaus, April 1919, 32.1 x 19.4 cm, Woodblock print
Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, Photo: Atelier Schneider, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

Nandalal Bose, Instructions for Mural painting, early 1930s
Mural, Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, India, © Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.

Weaving workshop at Bauhaus Dessau, ca. 1927, photo: Erich Consemüller/architect: Walter Gropius
Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

Lena Bergner, Two studies from the Paul Klee course at the Bauhaus, 1927–28
Litho print, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, © Heirs to Lena Bergner.

Kala Bavhan campus, Santiniketan, West Bengal, 2017, photo: Grant Watson.

Krishna Reddy, Postcard and drawing, year unknown
Photo: Grant Watson, © Judith Reddy, New York.

Renshichirō Kawakita & Katsuo Takei, Kōsei Kyōiku Taikei, (Handbook for Teaching Design), 1934
Private Collection of Prof. Hiromitsu Umemiya.

Renshichirō Kawakita at the workshop of Kōsei Kyouiku for art teachers held in
Wakayama Prefecture, December 1933, from: Kenchiku Kōgei. I See All, Vol. 3, No. 3, Mar. 1933.

Hin Bredendieck (middle) from Josef Albers's preliminary course 1928, ca. 1928 (photo) / 2015
Fine Art Print, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau.

Seikatsu kōsei (Life Construction) exhibition at Bunka Gakuin
in June 1931. Published in: Kenchiku Gaho, Vol. 22, No. 10.

Luca Frei, Design for pillows, 2017
Gouache, pencil and collage on foam core, 70 x 100 x 3 cm, photo: Karl Isakson.

●Edition Concept

Corresponding With geht von dem Bauhaus-Manifest aus, das Walter Gropius 1919 veröffentlichte. Darin argumentiert er, dass es zukünftig „keinen Wesensunterschied zwischen dem Künstler und dem Handwerker“ mehr geben dürfe. Das Manifest war ein Produkt seiner Zeit: Es berief sich auf eine radikale kulturelle Bewegung, die auf die Überwindung der bestehenden akademischen Kunstausbildung abzielte und den sozialen und materiellen Wert des Handwerks vor dem Hintergrund des industriellen Kapitalismus hervorhob. Seit ihrer Gründung trafen in der Bauhaus-Schule internationale Vorstellungen über die Moderne und über radikale Bildungsreform aufeinander, über eine Neufassung des Verhältnisses zwischen den angewandten und den bildenden Künsten und zwischen manuellem und geistigem Wissen. Als pädagogisches Experiment nahm sie eine Ausnahmestellung ein, da sie verschiedene Vorstellungen und Praktiken in einen neuen Lehrplan integrierte und die Rolle der Kunst beim Aufbau einer neuen sozialistischen demokratischen Gesellschaft neu fasste.

Das Bauhaus eröffnete im April 1919; im selben Jahr gründete der indische Dichter Rabindranath Tagore die Kunstschule Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan, einer utopischen Gemeinschaft 160 Kilometer nördlich von Kalkutta (heute Kolkata). Wie das frühe Bauhaus entwickelte auch die Kala Bhavan eine Sprache der Moderne, indem sie sich auf Quellen aus indischen Traditionen sowie etwa auch auf die britische Arts-and-Crafts-Bewegung berief. 1922 schrieb die österreichische Kunsthistorikerin Stella Kramrisch, die an der Kala Bhavan lehrte, einen Brief an Johannes Itten, in dem sie die Möglichkeit einer Bauhaus-Ausstellung in Indien aufwarf, wahrscheinlich veranlasst durch Tagores Besuch in Deutschland ein Jahr zuvor. Diese Korrespondenz führte zur ersten internationalen Bauhaus-Ausstellung, die im Dezember desselben Jahres von der Indian Society of Oriental Art in Kolkata ausgerichtet wurde.

Ein weiteres Bildungsexperiment mit Verbindungen zum Bauhaus war das 1931 von Renshichirō Kawakita in Tokio gegründete Seikatsu Kōsei Kenkyūsho (Forschungsinstitut für Lebensgestaltung), das später in Shin Kenchiku Kōgei Gakuin (Schule für Neue Architektur und Gestaltung) umbenannt wurde. Wie das Bauhaus in Weimar kombinierte auch die Tokioter Schule moderne handwerkliche und industrielle Produktionsformen mit traditionellen, in diesem Fall japanischen, Vorstellungen über Ästhetik. 1934 publizierte Kawakita (mit Katsuo Takei) ein Buch über die Kōsei-Ausbildung, Kōsei Kyōiku Taikei (Handbuch für die Gestaltungslehre). Es trug zusätzlich dazu bei, spezifische Prinzipien des Bauhauses in eine neue, moderne japanische Theorie der Kunstausbildung zu übersetzen.

Die Ausstellung Corresponding With vergleicht die Praxis und die Philosophie dieser drei Schulen, die durch Briefwechsel, Austausch von Ideen und Reisen miteinander in Verbindung standen. Sie umfasst selten gezeigte Dokumente zu Lehrmethoden und Werkstätten, ästhetischen Vokabularien und materiellen Kulturen, Ergebnisse von Werkstattkursen über Alltagsobjekte (hergestellt in Übereinstimmung mit den Leitsätzen der Schule) sowie Schriften über Pädagogik. Die drei Schulen werden in Bezug aufeinander betrachtet und im Hinblick auf die Kunstausbildung am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts als Teil des transnationalen und transkulturellen Austauschs neu gedacht. Sie teilten die Kritik an der europäischen akademischen Kunstausbildung sowie den Wunsch, die Gesellschaft durch eine radikale Pädagogik umzugestalten.

●Related Articles
●Interview
The Bauhaus Manifesto — Conversation with Magdalena Droste

Gropius wrote his Bauhaus manifesto shortly after the end of World War I. The German empire had collapsed, Russia had undergone a revolution and a second revolution in Germany was in the process of being suppressed. Throughout Germany people felt the necessity for a social and intellectual change. → more

●Article
“The Attack on the Bauhaus” — A Collage that Became a Symbol of the Closure of the Bauhaus

For the Yamawaki couple, their studies at the Dessau Bauhaus ended with the closure of the Dessau site. Iwao’s luggage for his return home also included his collage Der Schlag gegen das Bauhaus. It was first published in the architecture magazine Kokusai kenchiku in December 1932. Iwao let the collage speak for itself, publishing it without comment. → more

●Article
A Virtual Cosmopolis — Bauhaus and Kala Bhavan

The Bauhaus is renowned for its contribution to modernist architecture and design. Less known but equally significant is its pioneering role in opening up a transcultural network that created the conditions for global conversations on art and design as early as the 1920s. → more

●Article
Santiniketan — Rules of Metaphor and Other Pedagogic Tools

This essay was occasioned by the Delhi exhibition of the Hangzhou chapter of bauhaus imaginista and the accompanying seminar in December 2018. The overarching brief of the seminar was to discuss the pedagogic aspects of schools in various parts of the world that are relatable to the practices of Bauhaus. Specifically, the essay attempts to capture the foundational moments of Kala Bhavana, the art school in Santiniketan that, incidentally, also steps into its centenary year in 2019. → more

●Slide Show
Life at Santiniketan

The art school Kala Bhavan was founded by the poet Rabindranath Tagore in 1919 at Santiniketan, a utopian community about 100 miles north of Calcutta established in the previous century by the poet’s father, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore. Born out of the need to rehabilitate traditional Indian culture after the demoralizing impact of British rule, the school was established as an experiment in education that broke with academic tradition, and created a form of rural modernism decoupled from industrial modernization. → more

●Text Compilation
News from Santiniketan — A Text Compilation of Educational Texts from Santiniketan

Unlike the Bauhaus, Kala Bhavana had no written manifesto or curriculum. However, a corpus of writing developed around the school, largely produced by the school’s artists and teachers. The academic Partha Mitter, whose own writing has explored the interplay between the struggle against colonialism, modernism, and the cultural avant-garde in India, has selected a group of texts on education in Santiniketan. → more

●Article
Reclaiming the National — Against Nationalism

The question of how one resists populist nationalism is both obvious and fiendishly difficult. This sounds like a paradoxical proposition, and, indeed, it is. I am inspired by an early critique of nationalism which bears an uncanny resonance in today’s world: a critique that was made in 1916 by the Bengal poet and visionary, Rabindranath Tagore, during a lecture tour in Japan, in the midst of the First World War. → more

●Article
Bauhaus Calcutta

ln December 1922, ‘The Fourteenth Annual Exhibition of the lndian Society of Oriental Art’ was held at Samavaya Bhavan, number seventeen Park Street. Paintings by artists from the ‘Bengal school’—all of them members of the lndian Society of Oriental Arts—were exhibited. Most of these artists painted in a manner, which would have been recognisable as that school’s invention, a particularly lndian signature style, with mythology as preferred subject. Hung on the other side of the hall was a large selection of works from the Bauhaus.  → more

●Artist Work
The O Horizon — A Film Produced for bauhaus imaginista

The Otolith Group have been commissioned to produce The O Horizon for bauhaus imaginista, a new film containing studies of Kala Bhavana as well as the wider environments of Santiniketan and Sriniketan. Through rare footage of art, craft, music and dance, it explores the material production of the school and its community as well as the metaphysical inclinations that guided Tagore’s approach to institution building. → more

●Artist Work
Anna Boghiguian — A Play to Play

The works from Anna Boghiguian shown here are from an installation commissioned by the Institute of International Visual Arts (Iniva) titled A Play to Play as part of the exhibition Tagore’s Universal Allegories in 2013. These works incorporate elements associated with Tagore, from the artist’s frequent visits to Santiniketan. → more

●Article
Gertrud Grunow's Theory of Harmonization — A Connection between European Reform Pedagogy and Asian Meditation?

In this essay Linn Burchert sheds some light on the darkness obscuring Grunow’s practice by presenting the background and details of Grunow’s teaching, concluding by examining the striking parallels between her harmonization teaching and meditative and yogic practices, which had already been introduced at the Bauhaus in Johannes Itten’s preliminary course. → more

●Article
“The Art!—That's one Thing! When it's there” — On the History of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst in the Early Weimar Republic

Even though the progressive artists of the interwar period ultimately failed in their plan to realize the new, egalitarian society they had envisioned, their influence was lasting. The international avant-garde produced some of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, some members of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Workers council for art) occupied important positions at the Bauhaus—above all, its founding director Walter Gropius. → more

●Article
Bauhaus Weimar International — Visions and Projects 1919–1925

Although the Bauhaus opened its door in 1919, it took more than three years for Gropius to fully organize the school’s faculty, since with the departure of several of the old art school’s professors, such as Max Thedy, Richard Engelmann and Walther Klemm, open positions had to be regularly filled. But Gropius’s first appointments indicated the course set toward an international avant-garde school, a school of invention. → more

●Article
Naked Functionalism and the Anti-Aesthetic — The Activities of Renshichirō Kawakita in the 1930s

Kawakita called the educational activities that developed around the central axis of the School of New Architecture and Design “kōsei education.” The term “compositional/structural education” is often taken nowadays to refer to a preparatory course in composition derived from the Bauhaus—plastic arts training in which plastic elements such as color, form and materials are treated abstractly.  → more

●Article
The Bauhaus and the Tea Ceremony

The impact of the Bauhaus teaching methods reached far beyond Germany. Conversely, throughout its existence, a Japanese sensibility permeated the Bauhaus, springing from the Japonisme of individual professors, until its closure in 1933. This article analyzes the reciprocal impact of German and Japanese design education in the interbellum period in order to shed new light on the tightly knit network of associations then connecting Japan and Europe. → more

●Article
Johannes Itten and Mazdaznan at the Bauhaus

Having experimented with Mazdaznan’s teachings on nutrition, breathing and character while studying at the Stuttgart Academy of Art (1913–16), Johannes Itten used these findings for the first time as a “teaching and educational system” while directing his Viennese painting school (1916–19). By 1918/19 at the latest (still before his move to the Bauhaus), Itten had also learned about Mazdaznan’s racial model. But how did the racialist worldview of the Swiss Bauhaus “master” affect Bauhaus practice? → more

●Article
A Mystic Milieu — Johannes Itten and Mazdaznan at Bauhaus Weimar

Mazdaznan had a significant although often misunderstood impact on the life and work of Johannes Itten, a key figure in the development of the Weimar Bauhaus. A devout practitioner of Mazdaznan, he was responsible for introducing it to students of the Bauhaus in the early 1920s. This essay explores the intimate relationship between Itten, Mazdaznan and the Bauhaus and, in so doing, also underscores how in its infancy the Bauhaus was very different from its later incarnation as a school associated primarily with technical innovation. → more

●Artist Text
The Egyptian Postures

In the late nineteenth century the self-styled Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha'nish founded Mazdaznan, a quasi-religious movement of vegetarian diet and body consciousness, which flourished across the USA and Europe until the 1940's. The Egyptian Postures is a guide to the most advanced Mazdaznan exercises that Johannes Itten taught his students at the Bauhaus. This edition of Dr. Otoman Zar-Adusht Ha’nish’s original instructions has been newly edited and illustrated by Ian Whittlesea with images of actor Ery Nzaramba demonstrating the postures. → more

●Artist Text
The Legacies of the Bauhaus — For the Present and the Future

“My method of bringing new life to archival images is to look at what happens at the margins rather than the center of a picture. I am also obsessed with making links, based on the belief that everything is connected. And also with what I call ‘narrative environments,’ mediating spaces facilitating new forms of engagement.” Luca Frei is a commissioned artist for bauhaus imaginista: Corresponding With. He talks about his approach to his installation for the exhibition at MoMAK in Kyoto. → more

●Artist Text
Open Your Eyes — Breathing New Life Into Bauhaus Papercuts

My artistic practice working primarily with abstract folded paper objects led me to Josef Albers and his similar obsession with paper as an instructional medium. Initially looking for pleated paper forms and to learn more about the history of these techniques, I have since been swept up in the maelstrom of Albers' pedagogical mindset. It's difficult to look at one area of his thinking and not get pulled into many other directions, finding yourself challenged at every turn. → more

●Article
Shifting, Rotating, Mirroring 
 — Lena Bergner’s Minutes of Paul Klee’s Classes

Lena Bergner developed carpet patterns applying specific methods learned from Paul Klee discernible in her finished work. The results, however, are quite unique. This is precisely what Klee sought to achieve with his classes at the Bauhaus: to point to paths of design so that the formal language is not arbitrary, without, however, prescribing predetermined outcomes. → more

●Article
Three Preliminary Courses: Itten, Moholy-Nagy, Albers

It was the special qualities of the Swiss artist Johannes Itten, whose career as a primary and secondary school teacher was characterized by adherence to the principles of reform pedagogy, to have introduced a stabilizing structural element into the still unstable early years of the Bauhaus: the preliminary course which—in addition to the dual concept of teaching artistic and manual skills and thinking—was to remain a core part of Bauhaus pedagogy, despite considerable historical changes and some critical objections, until the closure of the school in 1933. → more

●Exhibition Slide Show
From the Preliminary Courses by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers

The emphasis on material experimentation was reflected in the Vorkurs or “preliminary course,” where the fundamental principles of the Bauhaus were introduced: a corresponding emphasis on craft took root in the Bauhaus’s newly-established workshops. → more

●Exhibition Slide Show
Workshops at the Bauhaus

Views into the mural painting, metal and weaving workshops in Weimar and Dessau, 1923–27. → more

●Research Archive
Im Schatten großer Mangobäume. Kunsterziehung und Transkulturelle Moderne im Kontext der Indischen Unabhängigkeitsbewegung
Christian Kravagna

in: Tom Holert & Marion von Osten (Hg.): Das Erziehungsbild. Zur visuellen Kultur des Pädagogischen, Schlebrügge.Editor, Wien 2010, S. 106–130.

DE Size: 21 MB
Nationalism in India
Rabindranath Tagore

Essay by Tagore denouncing nationalism

EN Size: 108 KB
Rabindranath Tagore in Visva Bharati News
Rabindranath Tagore

from: Visva Bharati News, 1932–33.

EN Size: 6 MB
●All Articles
Filter by Language:
  • EN
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  • JA
The Bauhaus Manifesto — Conversation with Magdalena Droste EN
Das Bauhaus-Manifest — Gespräch mit Magdalena Droste DE
“The Attack on the Bauhaus” — A Collage that Became a Symbol of the Closure of the Bauhaus EN
„Der Schlag gegen das Bauhaus“ — Eine Collage, die zu einem Symbol der Schließung des Bauhauses wurde DE
A Virtual Cosmopolis — Bauhaus and Kala Bhavan EN
Santiniketan — Rules of Metaphor and Other Pedagogic Tools EN
Life at Santiniketan EN
News from Santiniketan — A Text Compilation of Educational Texts from Santiniketan EN
Reclaiming the National — Against Nationalism EN
Bauhaus Calcutta EN
The O Horizon — A Film Produced for bauhaus imaginista EN
Anna Boghiguian — A Play to Play EN
Gertrud Grunow's Theory of Harmonization — A Connection between European Reform Pedagogy and Asian Meditation? EN
Gertrud Grunows Harmonisierungslehre — Verbindung Europäischer Reformpädagogik und Asiatischer Meditation? DE
“The Art!—That's one Thing! When it's there” — On the History of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst in the Early Weimar Republic EN
„Die Kunst! – Das ist eine Sache!, wenn sie da ist“
 — Zur Geschichte des Arbeitsrates für Kunst in der frühen Weimarer Republik DE
Bauhaus Weimar International — Visions and Projects 1919–1925 EN
Bauhaus Weimar International — Visionen und Projekte 1919–1925 DE
Naked Functionalism and the Anti-Aesthetic — The Activities of Renshichirō Kawakita in the 1930s EN
透明な機能主義と反美学 — 川喜田煉七郎の1930年代 JA
The Bauhaus and the Tea Ceremony EN
Johannes Itten and Mazdaznan at the Bauhaus EN
Johannes Itten und Mazdaznan am Bauhaus DE
A Mystic Milieu — Johannes Itten and Mazdaznan at Bauhaus Weimar EN
The Egyptian Postures EN
The Legacies of the Bauhaus — For the Present and the Future EN
Open Your Eyes — Breathing New Life Into Bauhaus Papercuts EN
Shifting, Rotating, Mirroring 
 — Lena Bergner’s Minutes of Paul Klee’s Classes EN
Verschiebung, Drehung, Spiegelung 
 — Lena Bergners Aufzeichnungen aus Paul Klees Unterricht DE
Three Preliminary Courses: Itten, Moholy-Nagy, Albers EN
Dreimal Vorkurs: Itten, Moholy-Nagy, Albers DE
From the Preliminary Courses by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers EN
Workshops at the Bauhaus