Big Plans! Modern Figures, Visionaries, and Inventors. Applied Modernism in Saxony-Anhalt 1919-1933.

May 4th 2016 – January 6th 2017. With Partner-Exhibitions in Dessau, Halle (Saale), Magdeburg, Merseburg, Leuna, Elbingerode und Quedlinburg.

A pioneering spirit prevailed in the years from 1919 to 1933, following the catastrophe of the First World War and the November Revolution, despite political unrest and economic instability. In central Germany, it was a time for modern men: As visionaries and inventors, artists, architects, engineers, entrepreneurs and politicians developed new worlds that promised more than just the optimum economisation of the nation through large-scale industry.

Whether in Dessau, Magdeburg, Halle, Merseburg, Leuna, Elbingerode or Quedlinburg – smaller and larger projects cropped up everywhere with imaginative plans for the “New Man”, who gains new freedoms through technology, who lives in a modern way and who learns that life is in fact shaped more by design than by tradition.

The exhibition project “Big Plans! Modern Figures, Visionaries, and Inventors.” shows that the Bauhaus Dessau did not stand alone, but was associated with numerous other utopias, places, institutions and people in Saxony-Anhalt.


The exhibition is a project of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in association with exhibitions throughout Saxony-Anhalt, in which the perspectives revealed in Dessau are explored in depth and expanded upon in the respective local contexts.

Diverse exhibits and experimental character

Visitors can expect a playful and exploratory exhibition that vividly conveys the constructive, experimental nature of applied modernism in Saxony-Anhalt with historical and re-staged models. These include, for example, the Stadtkrone (City Crown) visions of Bruno Taut, the model of an allotment garden for the self-sufficient city dweller by Leberecht Migge and Leopold Fischer, photographs and originals of graphic designs and art, and clothes for the “new woman” by Lis Beyer-Volger and Corona (Korona) Krause.

Starting with the artist-protagonists and agents of modern reform, the exhibition establishes many connections between their visionary designs and projects and the prevailing economic and social reality. Bridging the gap to the present day are, first and foremost, new artistic reinterpretations of advertising stands by Bruno Taut, Walter Dexel and Wilhelm Deffke.  A mobile Bauhaus stage takes to the road in the region with the dramatic work “Der Super Brocken”, which is dedicated to Paul Scheerbart. His ideas about a possible radical redevelopment of the Harz region by means of perpetual motion machines are reinterpreted musically and with moving figures for the present day.

A journey of discovery through Saxony-Anhalt

With installations, performances and other actions, the project moves beyond the Bauhaus building, draws on its immediate surroundings and extends into the region. The exhibition in the Bauhaus Dessau, in interaction with the locales associated with it, stages the region of Saxony-Anhalt in the literal sense as a topographical model area and thematic terrain. That is, it invites its audience to explore the cities and regions of modernism in Saxony-Anhalt as a unique, modern thematic field. The exhibition is a journey of discovery. It sees itself as an overture for a perennial programme, in which the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt prepares for the Bauhaus Centenary 2019.


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