●Edition 3: Moving Away
Dec. 2–18 2018
Exhibition and Symposium

bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away, New Delhi

  • Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA)
  • Goethe-Institut / Max Muelle Bhavan New Delhi
  • The India International Centre (IIC) New Delhi

bauhaus imaginista presents the exhibition Moving Away at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) New Delhi. This exhibition focuses on how principles in design and architecture from the Bauhaus have been adapted, expanded and contested in different social and political contexts. At the same time the symposium bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away – Bauhaus Pedagogy takes place at the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in New Delhi. It provides a unique opportunity to think about art and design pedagogy and its relation to society from a transnational perspective.

The exhibition Moving Away focuses on how principles in design and architecture from the Bauhaus have been adapted, expanded and contested in different social and political contexts. These include the former Soviet Republics, India, North Korea and China. The title of the exhibition indicates how the migration of Bauhaus ideas was never a case of pure dissemination, but instead these ideas were accepted and rejected in relation to local conditions and against a backdrop of geopolitical change in the twentieth century.

bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away, China Design Museum of CAA, Hangzhou
Photo: Liu Yongge, © Goethe-Institut.

Marcel Breuer’s filmstrip collage ein bauhaus-film. fünf jahre lang (a bauhaus film, five years long, 1926) provides the exhibition’s point of departure. It visualizes the development of the chair from crafted object to industrial prototype, towards a future where designed objects become obsolete. Breuer wrote that design must adapt to changing environments, which could be read as an argument against a universal set of forms and methods. Breuer’s collage was published in the Bauhaus Journal No 1, and the magazine’s contents introduce the basic principle of Bauhaus design, which go beyond individual objects to think about the building as a whole. This meant the development of new designs for cups, chairs, textiles, wall colours and flooring, through to campus architecture, houses and housing estates. The exhibition explores how these disciplines were integrated and related to the idea of social function and reform. Bauhaus ideas entered the Soviet Union, Asia and South America.

Moving Away at the Kiran Nadar Museum brings diverse Bauhaus genealogies together in an exhibition for the first time. Through this series of case studies it becomes possible to compare different responses to the Bauhaus, filtered through cultural translation and grounded in the conditions of a particular locality.

David Abraham, Fashion design and images for his diploma project at NID, 1980
© National Institute of Design, Knowledge Management Center, Archive collection.

The centenary project bauhaus imaginista provides with its symposium Moving Away – Bauhaus Pedagogy at the Goethe-Institut/Max-Mueller-Bhavan in New Delhi a unique opportunity to think about art and design pedagogy and its relation to society from a transnational perspective. While the Bauhaus is a basic reference, the aim is to avoid obscuring the other key educational projects of the twentieth century or to think only in terms of influence. While certain schools continued Bauhaus pedagogy through émigré figures, others developed in parallel or agonistically to the Bauhaus model. Drawing on the expertise of our research partners in India, the symposium in New Delhi, which accompanies the exhibition Moving Away, will address art and design education through contemporary and historical education examples from the sub-continent, looking at schools including Kala Bhavan Santiniketan, the Faculty of Fine Arts MSU Baroda and the National Institute of Design Ahmedabad.

●Event documentation
●Exhibition Announcement
bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away, New Delhi

bauhaus imaginista presents the exhibition Moving Away at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) New Delhi. This exhibition focuses on how principles in design and architecture from the Bauhaus have been adapted, expanded and contested in different social and political contexts. → more

●Symposium Announcement
Moving Away — Bauhaus Pedagogy

The Bauhaus school radicalized design pedagogy and stood for a cosmopolitan vision, acting within the transnational network of the modernist movement. The Bauhaus hosted students and teachers from various world regions. → more

Moving Away Symposium, New Delhi — Introduction

The symposium in New Delhi at the India International Centre, organized in collaboration with the Max Mueller Bhavan, looked specifically at the history of art school education in South Asia in relation to the Bauhaus legacy. Speakers include: Kathleen James Chakraborty, Sabih Ahmed, Anshuman Dasgupta, Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan, Mayank Mansingh Kaul, David Abraham, Tanishka Kachru, S Balaram, Saif Ul Haque, Kazi Ashraf, Prasad Shetty, Rupali Gupte, and Natasha Ginwala. → more

●Slide Show
Photo Documentation of the Symposium and Exhibition “Moving Away” in New Delhi
●Exhibition Documentation
Wall Texts from the Exhibition

Moving Away is curated by Marion von Osten and Grant Watson in collaboration with researchers Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan, Regina Bittner, Thomas Flierl, Anja Guttenberger, Eduard Koegel and Daniel Talesnik. It has been produced in collaboration with the China Design Museum, Hangzhou, and presented in partnership with the Kiran Nadar Museum, New Delhi. → more

●Locations and Partners
Location and Partners of the Events in New Delhi

The exhibition bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away opened at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in New Delhi.

The symposium Moving AwayBauhaus Pedagogy is organized in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi.

The symposium Moving AwayBauhaus Pedagogy took place at the India International Center (IIC) in New Delhi. → more

●Related Articles
Pedagogy as Art Practice: Towards a Critical Multiplicity — Practices around land, location and collectivism in Kala Bhavana, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan

To initiate a pedagogic model at a new art institute is often an easier task than engaging with the legacy of an institute that is a hundred years old. To start something new provides the opportunity to oppose or adapt existing models, make selective decisions about whether to include or exclude certain methods of working, and project an institutional ideology that positions itself either on the periphery or at the center, or even revert to older notions of center and periphery. But to engage with a legacy which is, in essence, the outcome of accumulated layers of individual and collective pedagogic models, to identify multiplicity as a further possibility of academism, and position it in between the formal and the informal … this is a far more complex process. → more

Habib Rahman — A Bauhaus Legacy in India

Habib Rahman, born 1915 in Calcutta, studied architecture at MIT under Lawrence Anderson, William Wurster and Walter Gropius, who taught next door at Harvard University. Gropius got Rahman his first job after graduation in his firm where Rahman worked until he returned to India in 1946. Ram Rahman’s account of his father’s legacy and his contribution to modernist Indian architecture. → more

●Video and Introduction
Ritwik’s Ramkinker — A Film in the Process

Ritwik Ghatak’s film Ramkinker Baij: A Personality Study on the sculptor from Santiniketan is like a spurt, a sudden expression of ebullient enthusiasm from a friend, who is said to have shared artistic affinities with him. Incidentally, it also registers, through a conversational method, the process of discovering the artist, who was embedded, organic, yet global and most advanced for his time. → more

Sriniketan and Beyond — Arts and Design Pedagogy in the Rural Sphere

In this article Natasha Ginwala examines how certain Bauhaus ideas flowed into Tagore’s pedagogic experiment and rural reconstruction program at Sriniketan (created in 1921–22), as well as the engagement with design Dashrath Patel, the founding secretary of the National Institute of Design (NID) and its leading pedagogue, pursued in the rural sphere. → more

●Conference Paper
Exploring the Bauhaus in its International Context

The Bauhaus’s eventually enormous influence should be attributed not just to the brilliance of so many of its faculty and students, but also to the fact that its establishment and the multiple approaches to the visual arts taken across its short history were obviously part of a broader desire present in many different places around the world to develop distinctly twentieth-century approaches to the teaching of the visual arts and to the design of the objects with which we live. → more

Design for Need — Der Milchkiosk von Sudhakar Nadkarni

Während der Designstudent Sudhakar Nadkarni 1965 an der HfG Ulm an seiner Diplomarbeit zur Gestaltung eines Milchkiosks für seine Heimatstadt Bombay arbeitete, reiste der deutsche Architekt und Designer Hans Gugelot an das 1961 gegründete NID in Ahmedabad. An beiden Schulen war man überzeugt, dass nur ein rational begründetes Design, das sich mit den grundlegenden Systemen der Gesellschaft, der Infrastruktur, der Gesundheits- und Nahrungsmittelversorgung befasst, die unmittelbaren Bedürfnisse der Menschen ernst nehmen kann. Der Milchkiosk-Entwurf ist ein herausragendes Dokument einer Gestaltungshaltung, die Design als ein Mittel zur Verbesserung des Alltags begreift. → more

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

Contemporary Reflections on NID History — Teaching through the Design Archive

I often stage chance encounters for students with archival materials at the NID: a rare photograph of the building in construction, an odd handwritten scribble on a drawing by M.P. Ranjan, a stunning collection of sound recordings by David Tudor and John Cage. The amazement and wonder created by this staging becomes the starting point for the pedagogical value of archives. → more

Moving Away from Bauhaus and Ulm — The Development of an Environmental Focus in the Foundation Programme at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

The National Institute of Design (NID) came into existence at the intersection of postcolonial aspirations to design a new nation and the new citizen and Cold War cultural diplomacy. It was located in Ahmedabad, a medieval western Indian city on the banks of the river Sabarmati, famous for its textile mills and as the place where Gandhi began his anti-British campaigns. Initially it was housed, perhaps quite appropriately, in a museum building designed by Le Corbusier where discussions began on the appropriate educational philosophy and pedagogy: Who would produce new lotas for the new nation? Who would teach them and how? → more

●Photo Essay
Abraham & Thakore — NID Fashion

Like most designer start-ups, A&T started as a very small design studio. We began by designing and manufacturing modest batches of textile and fashion items, manufactured mostly on handlooms and tiny printing and embroidery sheds in India’s still pervasive small-scale industrial sector. And indeed, 25 years on, our supply chain is still reliant on and supportive of many of these small enterprises. → more

Bauhaus and the Origin of Design Education in India

This article is an example of “writing by being,” because the author had the privilege of being part of the pilot “batch” of Indian design teachers. These students, many from an engineering background, were to be India’s future design educators, and their first exposure to design education took place at the newly-founded National Institute of Design, India’s first design institute, established in 1961 and inspired to a large measure by Bauhaus ideology. → more

On Behalf of Progressive Design — Two Modern Campuses in Transcultural Dialogue

“The Indian state has only existed for 13 years. And world history would be unthinkable without its unorthodox influence. India has delivered more new content in the last decade than any other country.” HfG Ulm founder Otl Aicher’s report on his trip to India in 1960 and the slides he took during his journey across the country are impressive observations of a country in upheaval. From today’s perspective, this material reads like an overture to the future collaboration between two design schools: the HfG Ulm and the NID in Ahmedabad.   → more