15 March – 30 April 2021
// Residency by invitation //
Sofia Dona is an artist and architect. She studied architecture at the National Technical University of Athens and public art at the Bauhaus University of Weimar. In 2018 she was awarded with the Prize for Architecture of the City of Munich and in 2015 with the Fulbright scholarship for Artists. Sofia Dona has realised projects between architecture and art in various cities such as Athens, Leipzig, Detroit, Los Angeles or in the border region between Tijuana and San Diego. Since 2018 she has been co-curating the queer feminist film festival “Aphrodite*” in Athens and as a member of the “Errands” group she has participated in exhibitions around the world.
Sofia Dona about the inspiration for her work:
“In my work there are often historical precedents where I start from and they lead my research and the process of my art interventions. Site-specificity is in many cases defining my projects and therefore buildings and architecture are important in my work. The Hotel Elephant in Weimar, the central station in Munich or the ‘Plattenbau’ buildings in Leipzig are some examples where I worked on a site-specific way. Also often literature connects me to those spaces, for instance Lotte in Weimar of Thomas Mann introduced me to the Hotel Elephant.
Having studied at the Bauhaus University of Weimar and the ‘Public art and new artistic strategies’ Master Program, was my first encounter with the Bauhaus buildings after finishing my architectural studies in Athens. ‘Bauhaus Forms’ was a work I created in 2009 and which focused on two buildings, the Haus am Horn and the Bauhaus University building.”
Sofia Dona about the residency and the atmosphere in the Masters' Houses:
“It is a very strong feeling living in the Masters' House because of its residential use. Inhabiting the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, the balcony somehow connects directly to the everyday personal life, which is quite different from the experience of studying in the same building of the Bauhaus School. On the other hand working on Oscar Schlemmer’s studio has been very strange in the beginning. There is some kind of magic around and one can feel it. The connection with the neighbour Masters' Houses is also interesting. I have been researching in the life and work of Karla Grosch one the few women teaching at the Bauhaus and also a dancer in various stage performances of Oskar Schlemmer such as the ’Glass dance’. Grosch lived together with Lily and Paul Klee in the Klee’s Masters' House.”
Sofia Dona about the restrictions in terms of preservation of historical monuments or the touristic use of the Masters' Houses:
“One of the main restrictions in terms of preservation of historical monuments was that I wasn't allowed to bring my cat with me in the Masters' House. The first weeks that arrived here I printed in paper three cats: Fina my cat, Paul Klee's cat Bimbo and Smilla a cat whose story I came across while being here. I have put these print-out cats around in the house, sitting on a Breuer's chair, on the studio desk or on the floor. That was a first (funny in a way) try to connect with the space and the history of the houses, but also live in the present time and the restrictions.
But I would say that the main restriction due to Covid is the difficulty to have visitors and friends in the house. The most important part of the Bauhaus was the community, that avant-garde group of people that gathered and lived together in the Masters' Houses, which makes it hard to inhabit such a house in this times of Covid. Of course the everyday work of the gardeners, the tourists that try to look from the windows, and the housekeepers that need to maintain the buildings makes it as if one lives in a house that is both observed but also functions as an observatory building itself.
Since we are not able to touch the walls I also started using a projector to project on surfaces of the Masters' Houses. That has been another element that I will probably use in the exhibition.”
Insights into her artwork:
“I am working on the concept of preservation of nature through hunting. For that I have been meeting one of the city hunters that is responsible to preserve one of the forrest areas in Dessau-Rosslau. At the same time while living in the house I have been experiencing the everyday care and preservation from the gardeners of the pine trees forrest around the Masters' Houses and created a series of videos. Apart of works that will connect to the hunting, some of the exhibition works will include photshootings in the Masters' Houses and the garden.”