Inge Mahn

15 January – 17 March (interrupted)
Schlemmer House
// Invitation //

Inge Mahn, born in 1943, is a sculptor and was the first visual artist to be invited to live and work in the Masters’ Houses as part of the Bauhaus Residency Programme “Gropius House || Fiktional”.

Inge Mahn was a student of Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Art Academy and has been exhibiting her works all over the world since the early 1970s, including at documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972. Her works are sculptures that often refer directly to the place of their creation or installation. They are often ephemeral works with an inherent performative character. Through alienation and exaggeration of well-known forms, she is thus able to draw the attention of the viewer to seemingly everyday things and encourage him to reflect on them.

Atelier im Haus Muche, Bauhaus Residenz, Inge Mahn, 27.2.2020 / Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Foto: Valentina Buitrago Garcia

Inge Mahn on her understanding of the Bauhaus and her stay in the Masters’ Houses:

“Bauhaus was actually not a single idea, at least not a uniform idea, but rather the beginning of an artistic movement that became international with the dissolution of the institute in the province. Subsequent Bauhaus institutions emerged on all continents and in many countries.

Bauhaus has become a term for modernly speaking: international and interdisciplinary work. […]

The invitation to the Bauhaus with the prospect of living and working there for some time has excited me now, because I have never experienced anything like this before and I am curious since I am used to and prefer to work in different places, because I have always connected life and work.

I consider sculptural work to belong where and for what it is made, it is not movable by itself, but artists should move. […]

It has been a long time since the Bauhaus artists lived in the Masters’ Houses, any traces are gone, the atmosphere is aired, the ghosts have disappeared. I didn't have the feeling of coming into the house of an artist who died long ago, because the house is almost empty, tidy, not homely, functional and not intimate. The few pieces of furniture are new, some of them are in my living room or in the living room of some friends as well and remind me of a furniture exhibition. […]

The many doors in the house (30 in total!) are somewhat irritating because they are partly contradictory. Of course it is well thought out if every room is connected to the neighbouring room and all rooms are accessible from the corridor, but the idea that several doors are opened by several people at the same time is strange because they could collide.

Seen from the Masters’ House, the Bauhaus is no longer a production site, but part of a museum, a tourist attraction, not very suitable for living, not at all for working. The strict regulations interfere, making it almost impossible to use it.

This naturally leads to the question: ‘Why are artistically working people invited, if the current structure is against it?’ Possible answer: ‘Exactly because of this! Because the cultural heritage should not only be preserved, but also maintained and kept alive, which means it must remain a production site.’”