Interdisciplinary Symposium 'bauhaus imaginista: Corresponding With' in Tokyo

4 August 2018

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

This international and interdisciplinary symposium is designed to explore ideas suggested by the exhibition bauhaus imaginista: Corresponding With, held in The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto. An experimental format will present a curated composition of short presentations, discussions and artistic interventions/ screenings and performances.

The aim of bauhaus imaginista: Corresponding With exhibition seeks to develop a conversation about two parallel yet different relationships to Bauhaus pedagogy in India and Japan, namely the art school in Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, India between 1919 and the present, and in the experimental pedagogical atelier, the Research Institute of Life Construction, later known as School of New Architecture and Design lead by architect Renshichirō Kawakita in Tokyo, Japan from 1931 to 1936.

The participants in the symposium will explore the impact of the Bauhaus in Japan and India in the transwar era (1930s-1950s) and beyond, to the present. Participants will variously present theoretical and historical statements, reflections on their experiences and work, and further their own practice in the form of artistic interventions or performances. This Symposium is a part of bauhaus imaginista, a series of exhibitions and events by the Bauhaus Kooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar, the Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin on the occasion of 100 Jahre Bauhaus. The symposium is organized by the Goethe-Institut Tokyo.

Three contemporary artists – Luca Frei (visual art), Kyoka (sound art) and Tsuyoshi Shirai (dance) – will create original art works for the event based on their relationship to Bauhaus concepts, forms and practices. The art historian and curator Helena Čapková and architect Taku Sakaushi will moderate this event.

Program 4 August 2018

Doors open

Dance performance
Tsuyoshi Shirai

Welcome and Introduction
by Peter Anders, Rainer Hauswirth, Claudia Perren

Presentation of bauhaus imaginista exhibition Kyoto
Marion von Osten/ Grant Watson

Pan-Asian Correspondences

Artists and curators will discuss Pan-Asian contexts of Bauhaus pedagogy in India and Japan. The discussion will highlight the non-European correspondences and connections.

Participants: Jin Motohashi, Yuko Ikeda, Kodwo Eshun, Anjalika Sagar, Hiromitsu Umemiya, Partha Mitter and Anshuman Dasgupta.

Japan-German Correspondences in the early 20th century

Experts on pre-war Bauhaus history in Japan will present short 5 minutes presentations to provide the audience with a background context. The presentations will be followed by discussion about the Bauhaus ideas and their impact on the field of design in the pre- and post-WWII Japan, focusing on careers of four designers: the Yamawakis, Kawakita and Mizutani. Artist Luca Frei will present an artistic intervention that reflects on the Bauhaus and the work that he has created for the exhibition.

Speakers: Hiromitsu Umemiya, Yoshimasa Kaneko, Mariko Takagi, Teruhi Yamano, Kenji Okuyama

Sound installation

Bauhaus in Japan - post-war prospects

An afternoon roundtable will develop the discussion started before lunch, bringing the Bauhaus in Japan into the postwar era where it met a significantly transformed political scene and society. Participants will share their first-hand experiences of the Bauhaus teaching principles and encounters with some of the designers who are the focus of this event, such as Mizutani and Yōko Kuwasawa. The discussion will be interrupted by short interventions by artists Kyoka and Tsuyoshi Shirai.

Teruhi Yamano; Kenji Okuyama; Yukimasa Okumura

Hiromitsu Umemiya, Yoshimasa Kaneko, Hiroko Shikida, Katsuhiko Yashiro, Makoto Aoyama, Anshuman Dasgupta

Queer Transgressions

The last panel will discuss the development of the Bauhaus ideas in Japan in the recent years and consider the transformations and inspirations that designers and teachers find relevant today. The discussion will attempt to track different references coming from the early Bauhaus, including ideas that were diverse, spiritual, radical and queer, in comparison to the American post-war Bauhaus style that promoted functionality and simplicity. Discussion among the speakers and participants will be followed by an open discussion with the audience and the panel will end with a final performance by Kyoka and Tsuyoshi Shirai.

Makoto Aoyama, Yukimasa Okumura

Kenji Okuyama, Katsuhiko Yashiro, Natasha Ginwala

Open Discussion

Final Performance – improvisation Shirai/Kyoka

17.30 END

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