Craft becomes Modern.
The Bauhaus in the Making
- 13 April 2017–7 January 2018
Hammering, planing, sawing and weaving – it was pretty loud and dusty in the workshop wing of the School of Design, the Bauhaus Dessau. Although conceived as ‘laboratories for industry’, a great deal was still done by hand in the Dessau workshops.
The exhibition "Craft becomes Modern. The Bauhaus in the Making" in the original setting, the weaving workshop in the Bauhaus building in Dessau, tells the story of the workshops from the perspective of craft – a discipline that was already pivotal to the foundation of the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar. That said, at the Bauhaus the concept of craft was more contentious than any other.
In the microcosm of the workshop praxis, the exhibition simultaneously explores these sites as reflected in their day as spheres in which the pressing questions of modern society were addressed.
Therefore, it is not the finished product, but the contentious processes of learning and production themselves that form the focus of the exhibition. After all, the Bauhaus prioritised new models of collective learning, work and production in a context of radical cultural change.
Through sketches, lesson notes, material studies, objects, photos and documents, visitors learn about design, making and production at the Bauhaus. Looms, workbenches, tools, material samples and machines from the weaving, wood and metal workshops will be on show for the very first time.
The exhibition shows the prevailing wide-ranging field of conflict in which craft at the Bauhaus was redefined as a utopia, albeit one that coexisted with industrial culture. The Bauhaus workshops were transitional spaces between factory and craft workshop, between the training workshops of the schools of arts and crafts and laboratories for industrial prototypes, between free experiment and Fordian piecework, between unique work of art and industrially mass-produced article.
Today, craft appears to be experiencing a renaissance with the cultural scenes of Do-it-Yourself, the new amateurism and the crafter and maker movement. To look from here at the modern craft that the Bauhaus produced may also contribute to a fuller understanding of craft in the twenty-first century.
In the exhibition, contemporary positions in design that conceptualise craft as critical design praxis enter into a dialogue with modern craft at the Bauhaus.
The exhibition will be shown at the Bauhaus Dessau in the framework of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation’s annual theme, “Substance”.
100 Years of Bauhaus | Beginning of the Centenary in 2017
"Craft becomes Modern. The Bauhaus in the Making" is the kick-off exhibition of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation to the founding centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019.