bauhaus
imaginista
●Edition 2: Learning From
Oct. 24 2018–Jan. 6 2019
Exhibition

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, São Paulo

  • SESC Pompéia São Paulo
  • R. Clélia, 93 - Pompeia, São Paulo - SP, 05042-000, Brazil

Poster for the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From /

Aprendizados Recíprocos at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo.

With works by: Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Arthur Amora, Susie Benally, Farid Belkahia, Lena Bergner, Lina Bo Bardi, Ahmed Cherkaoui, Lygia Clark, Rogério Duarte, Saul Elkins/Morteza Rezvani, Trude Guermonprez, Abdellah Hariri, Sheila Hicks, Maud Houssais, Paul Klee, Elisa Martins da Silveira, Mohamed Melehi, Hossein Miloudi, Hannes Meyer, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Geraldo Sarno, Ivan Serpa, Paulo Tavares, Lenore Tawney, Marguerite Wildenhain, Anne Wilson, Sol Worth/John Adair, Cristobal Zañartu.

Photograph from the archive of Hannes Meyer from his time in the Soviet Union, undated, © Hannes-Meyer-Archiv, DAM.

The exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From explores the role of cultural appropriation at the Bauhaus and in the work of Bauhaus related artists and designers during the 20th Century. It departs from the example of Paul Klee’s 1927 drawing of a carpet that references traditional Maghrebi carpet patterns, which shows a Bauhaus Master’s interest in non-Western cultural forms.

From the mid 1930s onwards Bauhaus emigres, including Josef and Anni Albers, and Marguerite Wildenhain, travelled throughout the Americas observing, documenting and collecting handicrafts produced by pre-Columbian and indigenous cultures. Anni Albers and her fellow weavers, including a younger generation of Fiber Artists looked to ancient Peruvian textiles because of their complexity and the high social value afforded weaving in Inca society. An interest in vernacular handicraft and architecture can also be seen in the work and study of the second Bauhaus director Hannes Meyer and Bauhaus weaver Lena Bergner during the period they spent in Mexico.

The turn to the vernacular and to handicrafts was given a political dimension in post-independence Morocco, where the rejection of a French Beaux-Arts model by Moroccan artists of the early 1960s led to the re-evaluation of local North African crafts and the Bauhaus, both of which were integrated into the curriculum of the School of Fine Arts in Casablanca.

In Brazil, a new design school named the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC)—established by the architect Lina Bo Bardi and Pietro Maria Bardi at Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP)—laid claim to Bauhaus lineage through its curriculum and faculty. However, this European modernist legacy was also resisted, leading Bo Bardi to study popular, Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous cultures in her effort to formulate a specifically Brazilian aesthetic. This reflected a broader post-war interest in cultural appropriation and developing new modernist vocabularies by turning to the cultures of marginalized groups.

Public program / Discussion on October 25, 2018 at Goethe-Institut São Paulo
Speakers: Ailton Krenak, Ethel Leon, Adele Nelson, Luiza Proença, Suely Rolnik, Cristine Takuá, Paulo Tavares, Marion von Osten and Grant Watson.

bauhaus imaginista: Learning From is produced by the SESC São Paulo and curated by Marion von Osten (Berlin) and Grant Watson (London), with support from researchers Elissa Auther (NYC), Erin Alexa Freedman (NYC), Anja Guttenberger (Berlin), Maud Houssais (Rabat) and Luiza Proença (São Paulo) as well as resaerch advisors Regina Bittner (Dessau, Fabienne Eggelhöfer (Berne) and Toni Maraini (Marokko).

Richard Chalfen, Film maker Alta Kahn while shooting Navajo Film Themselves, 1966, film still, Courtesy of Penn Museum Archive/© Richard Chalfen.

●Event documentation
●Exhibition Opening Program
bauhaus imaginista — Learning From / Aprendizados Recíprocos

As part of the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, at Sesc Pompeia (October 25 to January 6th) a public discussion at the Goethe Institute, Sao Paulo, will explore questions of cultural appropriation, representation and ‘learning from’ handicrafts in the work of Bauhaus emigres their students as well as important modernist figures in Brazil; who studied and collected a wide range of cultures from outside the modernist main stream. They looked to sources including popular, indigenous, and non-western sources, to energize their work.  → more

●Slide Show
bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, São Paulo

Photo documentation of the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From and its opening at SESC Pompéia in São Paulo

 

Photos: Danila Bustamante, 2018. → more

●Video
Reading Sybil Moholy-Nagy, Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture in North America, 1957

In the 1960s, the interest in a regional and vernacular architecture evolved into a sort of counterculture against the prevailing modernism in the USA. Sybil Moholy-Nagy’s book is an early document of this movement and today a classic of architecture history. It features buildings and construction techniques that emerge from social practices and whose builders remain anonymous. They include Amerindian settlement forms, Mexican pueblos and churches, as well as barns and houses of the first European settlers. → more

●Exhibition Slide Show
Des-Habitat

Des-Habitat interrogates the ways in which indigenous arts and crafts appeared within discourses and imaginaries of modernity through the lens of Habitat, the arts and design magazine created by architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1950. Instead of the content shown in the images of indigenous objects, the project interrogates the context from which they emerged as signifiers of modernity in Habitat, examining how Habitat itself, by virtue of its language and visual design, functioned as framing device that concealed that context and its inherent colonial structure. → more

●Exhibition Documentation
Brochure and Wall Texts from the Exhibition at Sesc Pompeia, São Paulo

The exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From explores the role of cultural appropriation at the Bauhaus and in the work of Bauhaus related artists and designers during the 20th Century. It departs from the example of Paul Klee’s 1927 drawing of a carpet that references traditional Maghrebi carpet patterns, which shows a Bauhaus Master’s interest in non-Western cultural forms. → more

●Video
bauhaus imaginista: Learning From, São Paulo

Video documentation of the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From at SESC Pompéia in São Paulo

 

Video: Danila Bustamente, 2018. → more

●Locations
Locations of the Exhibition and Talk program in São Paulo

The exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Learning From / Aprendizados Recíprocos takes place at SESC Pompéia, São Paulo.

 

The talk series is hosted by Goethe-Institut Brazil. → more

●Related Articles
●Artist Text
Research Project by Kader Attia

Looking into the history of objects, into their original practical and social function as well as into the circumstances of their transition to European and other countries of Western civilization, the artist Kader Attia aims at conveying the full identity of the objects and to follow the traces of their disappearance that still can be discovered today and call for repair. → more

●Article
Memories

I was sixteen years old when I undertook my first journey into finding a professional vocation, first in Asilah, then in Fez followed by Tétouan. 1952. Tangiers was, to me, an open book, a window on the world. The freedom of seeing, of discovering and of feeling, of weaving the narratives of my dreams. → more

●Article
The Bauhaus and Morocco

In the years when Western nations were committed in new projects of partnership, with what was then called the “Third World”, young artists and students from the Maghreb had grown up in the passionate climate of the struggle for independence, were talented, open to modernity, and eager to connect with twentieth-century international art movements, which were different in production and spirit from colonial ideology and culture. → more

●Article
Anni Albers and Ancient American Textiles

At the time Anni Albers wrote On Weaving in 1965, few discussions of Andean textiles “as art” had appeared in weaving textbooks, but there were numerous publications, many of which were German books published between 1880 and 1929, that documented and described their visual and technical properties. Albers almost single-handedly introduced weaving students to this ancient textile art through her writing and her artistic work.  → more

●Article
Working From Where We Are — Anni Albers’ and Alex Reed’s Jewelry Collection

Not by nature acquisitive and certainly not art collectors, Josef and Anni Albers began in 1936 to collect Mexican figurines and other artifacts unearthed from that land’s memory. They described the country, which they first visited in 1935, as “the promised land of abstract art.” Returning to Black Mountain College Anni Albers and Alexander Reed began experimenting with everyday articles to create a strange and beautiful collection of objects of personal adornment inspired by their visit to Mexico. → more

●Article
Teko Porã — On Art and Life

Cristine Takuá is an indigenous philosopher, educator, and artisan who lives in the village of Rio Silveira, state of São Paulo, Brazil. She was invited to present a contemporary perspective on questions and tensions raised by interactions between the indigenous communities and the mainstream art system, as well as to address Brazil’s specific social and political context. → more

●Article
Andean Weaving and the Appropriation of the Ancient Past in Modern Fiber Art

Ancient and indigenous textile cultures of the Americas played a critical role in the development of the work of fiber artists who came of age in the U.S. in the late 1950s and 1960s. Anyone who has studied fiber art of this period, myself included, knows this well. They openly professed an admiration for traditions ranging from Navaho weaving, to the use of the backstrap loom in Mexico and Central America, to the ancient weaving techniques of Peru. → more

●Article
Common Threads — Approaches to Paul Klee’s Carpet of 1927

Paul Klee’s Carpet, 1927, creates a conundrum for scholars as it does not neatly fit the existing theoretical models concerning how European artists engage with non-Western art and culture, while at the same time opening up exciting new avenues for inquiry. → more

●Video
kNOT a QUIPU — An Interview with Cecilia Vicuña

In this recorded interview, Vicuña describes how after she first learned about quipu, she immediately integrated the system into her life. Quipu, the Spanish transliteration of the word for “knot” in Cusco Quechua, is a system of colored, spun and plied or waxed threads or strings made from cotton or camelid fiber. They were used by the Inca people for a variety of administrative purposes, mainly record-keeping, and also for other ends that have now been lost to history.  → more

●Article
Don’t Breathe Normal: Read Souffles! — On Decolonizing Culture

The need for a synthesis of the arts and, with this, a change of pedagogical principles, was not only present at the beginning of the twentieth century (forces that prompted the Bauhaus’s foundation), but after WWII as well, during the “Short Century” of decolonization. . This second modern movement and its relation to modernism and the vernacular, the hand made, and the everyday was vividly expressed through texts and art works published in the Moroccan quarterly magazine Souffles, published beginning in the mid-1960s by a group of writers and artists in Rabat, Casablanca and Paris. → more

●Article
Les Intégrations: Faraoui and Mazières. 1966–1982 — From the Time of Art to the Time of Life

Les Intégrations exemplified a specific conceptual motif, one that acted not within a single field but rather implied a relationship of interdependence between different media (visual arts and architecture) and techniques (those of graphic arts and architecture). They thus allowed for the emergence of disciplines that were not static in formation but evolving in relation to one another. The intermedial relationship they created between art and architecture raises the question of what lies "between" these disciplines: how do they communicate with each other? What are the elements of language common to this "spirit of the times," to the particular atmosphere of the late 1960s? → more

●Article
École des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca (1964–1970) — Fonctions de l’Image et Facteurs Temporels

Utopie culturelle vécue, posture éthique et préfiguration de la modernité artistique et culturelle marocaine, l’École des Beaux-arts de Casablanca est, de 1964 à 1970, le lieu de cristallisations d’aspirations sociales et artistiques portées par un groupe d’artistes et enseignants responsables d’une restructuration des bases pédagogiques. → more

●Article
Chabâa’s Concept of the “3 As”

“Architecture is one expression of the fine arts” (Mohamed Chabâa, in: Alam Attarbia, No. 1, p. 36, 2001.)

 

Mohamed Chabâa’s consciousness of his national heritage and his interest in architecture both emerged at a young age. His concept of the “3 A’s”—art, architecture and the arts and crafts—grew out of his discovery both of the Italian Renaissance and the Bauhaus School during a period of study in Rome in the early 1960s. From then on, bringing together the “3 A’s” would become a central interest, a concept Chabâa would apply in various ways and fiercely defend throughout his long and varied career. → more

●Article
The “Workshop for Popular Graphic Art” in Mexico — Bauhaus Travels to America

The global developments that led in 1942 to the appointment of Hannes Meyer, second Bauhaus director, as head of the workshop for popular graphic art, Taller de Gráfica Popular (henceforth referred to as the TGP), made it a focal point for migrating Europeans in flight from fascism. This essay aims to shed light on how the TGP was influenced by Europeans granted asylum by Mexico before and during World War Two, and, conversely, to explore the degree to which these exiled visual artists, writers, and architects’ ideas came to be influenced by their contact with artists active in the TGP. → more

●Article
Lena Bergner — From the Bauhaus to Mexico

The story of Lena Bergner is relevant to the history of architecture and design on account of her career passing through different ideological and cultural contexts. Here we will discuss her life and work, focusing on her training in the Bauhaus, her time in the USSR and her time in Mexico, where, along with her husband the architect Hannes Meyer, over a ten-year period she undertook cultural projects of great importance. → more

●Video
“Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture” by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy

Sibyl Moholy-Nagy understood herself as a traveling observer. In her book Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture Moholy-Nagy sought buildings that survived time because they had developed naturally out of the North American reality. In doing so she did not define one style, method or area but rather showed how builders found creative solutions to specific problems of site, climate, materials and skills.  → more

●Article
“Every Moment Is a Moment of Learning“ — Lenore Tawney. New Bauhaus and Amerindian Impulses

“I felt as if I had made a step and maybe a new form. These evolved from a study of Peruvian techniques, out of twining and twisting. Out of that came my new way of working, of dividing and separating the piece.” Lenore Tawney’s “Woven Forms” are not purpose-built in a (Western) crafts sense; they move beyond traditional European rules of weaving and attempt to approach an indigenous attitude towards craft and technique. This essay shows how Tawney charted her own unique path in fiber art by linking Amerindian impulses with Taoist concepts of space and Bauhaus ideas. → more

●Article
Of Art and Politics — Hannes Meyer and the Workshop of Popular Graphics

The Mexico of President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río was a fertile ground for the development of ideological questions, especially those originating from the left. The expropriation of oil fields, mining and large estates in 1938, the refuge granted Spanish republicans and members of the International Brigades in 1939, and the accord of mutual support between the government and syndicalist organizations all favored the formation of artistic and cultural groups willing to take part in the consolidation of revolutionary ideals which, until that point, had made little progress. Among these organizations was the Taller de Gráfica Popular, the Workshop of Popular Graphics. → more

●Article
Vernacular Architecture and the Uses of the Past

In sending out the manuscript of Native Genius in Anonymous Architecture to a publisher, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy added a note on the “Genesis of the manuscript,” which is quite revealing about the intellectual trajectory that gave rise to it. She positioned herself as first and foremost a traveling observer, learning from direct contact with artefacts and buildings, curious about their histories and willing to interpret material evidence and local narratives. → more

●Article
The Latent Forces of Popular Culture — Lina Bo Bardi’s Museum of Popular Art and the School of Industrial Design and Crafts in Bahia, Brazil

This text deals with the experience of the Museum of Popular Art (MAP) and the School of Industrial Design and Handicraft, designed by the Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, in Salvador (capital of the state of Bahia), Brazil. Such a “school-museum” is based on the capture and transformation of latent forces that exist in Brazilian popular culture. → more

●Article
Diagonal. Pointé. Carré — Goodbye Bauhaus? Otti Berger’s Designs for Wohnbedarf AG Zurich

Gunta Stölzl. Anni Albers. These are the most prominent names today when one thinks of actors in the Bauhaus textile workshop. Both had been involved in the textile workshop since Weimar times, shaping it through their understanding of textiles and their teaching. Otti Berger did not join the workshop until Dessau. Stölzl and Albers succeeded in leaving Germany in 1931–32. And they succeeded in continuing to work as textile designers and artists. Berger succeeded in doing this, too, but accompanied by an ongoing struggle for recognition and fair remuneration. → more

●Article
Walking on a Möbius Strip — The Inside/Outside of Art in Brazil

This text investigates how the topological figure of the Möbius strip, famously propagated by Bauhaus proponent Max Bill, was used in Brazil within dissident artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s as a tool for reflection on the subject, alterity and public space. The Möbius strip is revisited in this essay as a conduit for thinking critically about possible subversions of Eurocentric forms, as well as various appropriations of traditional popular culture by modern and contemporary art in Brazil. → more

●Interview
Questions about Lenore Tawney — An Interview with Kathleen Nugent Mangan, Executive Director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation

The search for the spiritual characterized Tawney’s long life, and was reflected in both the iconography and materials she used in her work. She was a regular diarist and her journals provide valuable insight into this deeply personal search. bauhaus imaginista researcher Erin Freedman interviews Executive Director of the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, Kathleen Nugent Mangan, about Tawney's approach and work. → more

●Article
In the Footsteps of the Bauhaus — Its Reception and Impact on Brazilian Modernity

Through the strong German-speaking minority and its active work in the creation and mediation of culture in the spirit of modernity, the application of Bauhaus formal language, especially in the first phase of Brazilian modernity, has played a considerable role. It was only with the equation of German culture with National Socialism and the ensuing intolerance of German protagonists that these architectural and cultural activities were severely disrupted. In Brazil during this period, a style of modernism based on the principles of Le Corbusier finally gained acceptance. The impulses of the Bauhaus, however, which were not perceived for many years, were also reinterpreted and further developed within Brazil, although they remained occulted in comparison to the public reception of Corbusier. → more

●Article
Times of Rudeness — Design at an Impasse

In 1980, Lina Bo Bardi began working on a book concerning her time in the northeastern part of Brazil. With the help of Isa Grinspum Ferraz, she captioned the illustrations, revised her contributions to the book and drafted the layout and contents. The latter also included texts by her collaborators who, in a truly collective effort, had tried to envision the project of a true Brazil—an unfettered and free country with no remnant remaining of the colonial inferiority complex which had plagued the country earlier in its history. Bo Bardi discontinued her work in 1981. In 1994, the Instituto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi published this project as Times of Rudeness: Design at an Impasse. → more

●Exhibition Slideshow
Archives du Cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières

Entre 1968 et 1978, le cabinet d’architectes Faraoui et De Mazières commande à des artistes des œuvres conçues spécifiquement pour leurs projets architecturaux autour du concept des «Intégrations». Usines, hôpitaux, universités, centres de vacances, banques et hôtels vont ainsi bénéficier de ce syncrétisme entre l’art et l’architecture.  → more

●Exhibition Slide Show
Des-Habitat

Des-Habitat interrogates the ways in which indigenous arts and crafts appeared within discourses and imaginaries of modernity through the lens of Habitat, the arts and design magazine created by architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1950. Instead of the content shown in the images of indigenous objects, the project interrogates the context from which they emerged as signifiers of modernity in Habitat, examining how Habitat itself, by virtue of its language and visual design, functioned as framing device that concealed that context and its inherent colonial structure. → more

●Article
The World in the Province from the Province to the World — Bauhaus Ceramics in an International Context

In this article Hans-Peter Jakobson presents the various influences, both national and international, and direct and indirect, influencing the views on ceramics taught in the Ceramic Workshop of the State Bauhaus Weimar Dornburg. Based on the life paths, inspirations and influences of the few ceramists who emerged from the Bauhaus workshop in Dornburg, he traces possible worldwide developments in ceramics to the present day. → more

●Article
Ivan Serpa, Lygia Clark, and the Bauhaus in Brazil

The art school of the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro was established in 1952, led by Ivan Serpa, who gave classes for both children and adults—including artists who would go on to form the Grupo Frente (1954–56) and later the neo-concrete movement (1959–61). Writer and critic Mário Pedrosa described the “experimental” character of these classes, but the fact this experimentation was structured through study of color, materials, technique and composition has encouraged art historian Adele Nelson to claim Serpa’s teaching method was substantially based on the Bauhaus preliminary course. → more

●Article
A Bauhaus Domesticated in São Paulo

In March 1950, Pietro Maria Bardi, director of the São Paulo Art Museum (MASP, which opened in 1947), wrote to several American educational institutions requesting their curricula as an aid to developing the first design course in Brazil—the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC), which was to be run as a part of the museum and would also be the country’s first design school. Despite being brief and objective, his missives did not fail to mention the “spirit of the Bauhaus,” explicitly linking the institute he hoped to found with a pedagogical lineage whose objectives and approach he aimed to share. → more

●Article
Weltkunstbücher der 1920er-Jahre — Zur Ambivalenz eines publizistischen Aufbruchs

Um 1900 erschienen die ersten Kompendien und Handbücher über sogenannte Weltkunst. Nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg explodierte dann die Anzahl der Publikationen über außereuropäische Künste. Diese fanden auch sogleich Eingang in die 1919 neu etablierte Bauhaus-Bibliothek. Diese Buchreihen lassen erkennen, unter welchen Bedingungen nichteuropäische Kunst in den 1920er-Jahren rezipiert wurde: als Inspirationsmaterial, als Ausdruck der Kanonkritik an einer europäischen Hochkunst und als Plädoyer für die Aufhebung zwischen Kunst und Kunsthandwerk, aber vor allem auch welches Verständnis von „Welt“ hier reproduziert wurde. → more