Out of the Display Case: Hannes Meyer

wir erkennen
in jeglicher lebensrichtigen gestaltung
eine organisationsform des daseins.
wahrhaft verwirklicht
ist jede lebensrichtige gestaltung
ein reflex der zeitgenössischen gesellschaft.

 

Hannes Meyer, 1929

„junge menschen kommt ans bauhaus!“ (young people come to the bauhaus!) – This is the title of an advertising brochure from 1929, with which Hannes Meyer, as the second Bauhaus director, wanted to attract young people to study at the Bauhaus Dessau.

junge menschen kommt ans bauhaus! The brochure is introduced by a programmatic text and a portrait photo of Hannes Meyer. The poetic form of the text, the undisguised directness of the gaze and the extremely reduced objectivity of the typographic design make the address very personal and emotional. Hannes Meyer conveys his attitude and view of collective design as a tool for a better life for the masses and as the central task of the Bauhaus under his leadership in an intense and direct way.

 

Georg Leidenberger (Professor of 20th Century History, Autonomous Metropolitan University, Mexico City) will join us live via video call from Mexico City to talk about Hannes Meyer as a leading representative of so-called “radical modernism” in a hybrid event with Regina Bittner and Werner Möller (both from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation). A movement that combined functionalist principles with those of the political left. According to Leidenberger’s thesis, Meyer’s professional work in this context was closely linked to his private life. A life that was always characterised by the ambivalence of a search for personal freedom and the values of the collective, as well as the events of the 20th century between democracy and totalitarianism, war and exile.

 

Georg Leidenberger is a professor of 20th century history at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City and a specialist in architectural history, urban society and politics. His biography “Architect Hannes Meyer and Radical Modernism” was published by Peter Lang Verlag in autumn 2023.