The Gesture Speaks

// Exhibition
26 Oct 2023 – 1 Apr 2024
Bauhaus Museum Dessau,
temporary exhibition space and Spatial Stage

The exhibition explores physical and mimetic communication, understood here as the capacity to achieve an effect by means of a gesture, from both historic and contemporary perspectives.

The Gesture Speaks spans an arc from the reformation of physical education to the modern expressive dance of the artistic avant-garde in the 1920s. The exhibits include a gesture cycle by the photographer Hänse Herrmann featuring Hade Kallmeyer, the founder of “artistic gymnastics” in Berlin, and photos taken by Frédéric Boissonas for the Bildungsanstalt Hellerau. In addition, the movement pedagogy and movement choirs of Dore Jacobs are introduced in previously unpublished photographs and series. Charlotte Rudolph and Suse Byk interpret through the medium of photography the avant-garde dance work of Mary Wigmann and Vera Skoronell.

Several short films by the filmmaker Niels Bolbrinker contextualise the positions explored in the exhibition and provide insight into the related chronology, biographical backgrounds, and artistic visions. Workshops for children, preschool, and school classes, as well as for adults, stimulate participants to experiment with their own physicality, with expression and movement – both together and under the guidance of the movement educator Gerburg Fuchs.

The exhibition is supplemented by artistic positions at the Bauhaus that sought to connect notions of a universalism of gestural expression with the technical and apparatus structures of industrial production.