Triennal of Modernism

Following the successful start of the Triennal of Modernism in 2013 and 2016, the 2019 programme is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus. To this day, the Bauhaus is regarded as the epitome of timeless modern design, has had an international impact and left behind a rich architectural heritage. All this can be experienced and viewed on tours, events and exhibitions during the three autumn weekends from 26 September to 13 October 2019. The Triennal 2019 will open on 26 September 2019 in Weimar, where the Bauhaus was founded.

The Initiative Triennal of Modernism is building a national network of modern art based on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Modernity in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, thus raising public awareness of the buildings and interdependencies of the avant-garde of the early 20th century.

The Triennal of Modernism takes place on three subsequent weekends in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin.

26 – 29 September 2019

4 – 6 October 2019

11 – 13 October 2019

More about the programme:

Archaeology of Modernism.
Building Research Bauhaus Buildings Dessau

from 4 October 2019
Bauhaus Building

Meters and meters of lined-up windows. Windows with window crosses, narrow ones, wide ones, some with wooden and others with metal frames, some in a good condition and many, whose age of 100 years is clearly recognizable. They stem from the Bauhaus Building, from the Masters’ Houses and the House Anton in Dessau-Törten. Inventory slips are attached to each of them, informing about their origin, age and place of discovery. The actual, the material treasures of the Bauhaus are stored in the building research archive. The building research archive has the task to preserve and investigate them.

The Exhibition:

Whether door handles and bath tubs or colour samples and concrete fragments, the scientists in the building research archive of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation collect and investigate building components and materials of the architecture of Modernism. A worldwide unique collection of original testimonies that have been almost unknown by now. The exhibition Material and Architecture in the Bauhaus Building presents a selection from the building research archive and demonstrates the interaction of material and the architecture of Modernism by presenting building components and building materials, drawing and contemporary records.

The Bauhaus buildings in Dessau are prototypes – also in view of building materials. In particular steel, glass and concrete opened new options for the Bauhäuser. Walter Gropius wrote, “just these new building materials – iron, concrete, glass – allow to erect large-spanned, light-flooded rooms and buildings because of their strength and molecular density at greatest savings…”. These new opportunities were practically tested in the Bauhaus buildings.  

Over the past decades, much knowledge about the once modern, however meanwhile historical materials has been lost. Many materials proved to be useful and prevailed, some of them not. They were just replaced in later refurbishment activities, apparently unimportant items, e.g. electrical lines and floor covers, were disposed of. But they find their place in the building research archive. They are secured, investigated and again and again studied to answer still pending questions of the architecture of Modernism.  

The Transfer Agreement

4 October – 17 November 2019
Bauhaus Building

In the staircase of the Max Liebling House in Tel Aviv, a tile peeled off the wall during renovation work. The name of the manufacturer appeared under the plaster: Villeroy und Boch – Made in Germany. Other materials from Germany can also be found in the building erected in Tel Aviv in 1936. The Max Liebling House is one of about 4,000 houses in the “White City”, whose architecture is closely connected to the formal language of the Bauhaus. The use of building materials from Germany is based on the almost unknown Haavara Agreement.

The Exhibition:

The houses in the “White City” in Tel Aviv (Israel), a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003, were partly erected of building materials from Germany. The Haavara Agreement, a contract between Zionists in Palestine and National Socialists in Germany, played an important role for this. The exhibition The Transfer Agreement deals with this agreement from an artistic, architectural and political perspective. It will be shown during the Triennale of Modernism at the Bauhaus Dessau.

The controversial agreement between the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Association for Germany and Nazi Germany was valid from 1933 to 1938. It should be an incentive for German Jews to emigrate, by enabling them to transfer part of their property to Palestine. They paid in the property at one of the transfer banks in Germany. Local importers used this money to buy goods in Germany, e.g. building materials, and sold them in Palestine. When the emigrants arrived in Palestine, they got their money back, after the deduction of the cost.  

More than 50,000 German Jews emigrated under the Haavara Agreement. Estimated 150 million Reichsmarks are assumed to have been transferred. A real building boom began, based on this mass of construction material, coining the “White City” Tel Aviv – from cement to tiles. For the exhibition The Transfer Agreement in the Bauhaus Building, some of the building materials from Tel Aviv return to Germany.

The Transfer Agreement is a joint project of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and The White City Center. The exhibition is simultaneously shown in Tel Aviv. The focus of the team around the artists Ilit Azoulay, Lou Moriah, Nir Shauloff and Jonathan Touitou, the curator Hila Cohen-Schneiderman and the monument conservationist Sharon Golan-Yaron is on the concept of the “Societies on the Move”: the move of people, materials and cultures as central element of modern architecture and its influence on urban development. The project will investigate historical and contemporary relations and raise the question for the impact of migration and mobility on individuals, cities and culture while they reshape their identities