The Moscow iteration of the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away traces the complex relationship between the Bauhaus and the Soviet Union through the life and work of former Bauhaus teachers and students in Moscow. It focuses on several graduates and students who followed the second Bauhaus director, architect Hannes Meyer and his wife, textile designer Lena Bergner Meyer to the Soviet Union in 1930: the architect Philipp Tolziner, who ended up living the rest of his life in Moscow; architect and urban planner Konrad Püschel; architect and teacher Tibor Weiner; and architect Lotte Stam-Beese, who was the first woman to study in the building department of the Dessau Bauhaus.
Today their private estates are stored in the Bauhaus Archive Berlin, the Bauhaus Dessau Archive, the German Architecture Museum Frankfurt (DAM), the Institute of the history and theory of architecture, gta at the ETH Zurich, the Netherlands Architecture Institute and the Shchusev Museum Moscow. The four estates all have their own systematics and histories. They are in as such complex matters, expressing selection modes and power structures of collecting as well as subjective memory work and the partial precarious status of what is left behind.
Through photographs, letters, collage, scrap book pages, personal notes, diagrams, manifestos and architectural drawings and city plans, material found in the estate describes their relationship with the Bauhaus Dessau as well as the Soviet Union and communist and socialist ideals. Variously it reflects the attempt to write one’s own as well as a collective history, to memorialise, to figure out ideas about collaborative practice and address migratory experience, revealing a personal aspect to modernist utopic design histories. Each estate has a different character but similar in this combination micro and macro-political information.
For the exhibition at the Garage, contemporary practitioners are invited to respond to these personal archives and produce a reading of material relating to the socialist backgrounds and the work in the Soviet Union. Each of the invited readers and commenters will come up with a different proposal how to contextualize the archival knowledge. These different takes on the archive correspond with the subjective story telling by the historical figures themselves.