Gropius House || Fictional:
Alexis Lowry, Hannes Bajohr and Rita Evans
Exhibition of the Bauhaus Residency
25 Nov – 26 June 2022
Alexis Lowry (Dia Art Foundation) with works by Charlotte Posenenske
and Hannes Bajohr
30 Sep 2021 – 10 Apr 2022
daily 10 am – 5 pm
Residents Alexis Lowry, Hannes Bajohr and Rita Evans have been working intensively on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Masters' Houses during their stay in Dessau in recent weeks and months. For the annual theme "Infrastructure", curator Alexis Lowry chose modular, sculptural and industrially manufactured objects by artist Charlotte Posenenske as the focus of her work, which defy the notion of domination in favour of the participatory.
The writer, philosopher and literary scholar Hannes Bajohr drew on archival texts to approach the invisible infrastructure of the Masters' Houses. He selected passages from administrative documents and correspondence between tenants and the magistrate, arranged them and placed them in the places to which they refer.
Artist Rita Evans has been working at Haus Muche since September, experimenting with materials and forms and exploring what sound they produce when played and moved by a group or audience from the public. She will be in contact with the people of Dessau to discover new ways of playing with her sculptures.
Works of art and artistic working processes create specific new approaches to the world and in this sense are fictional: the term is derived from the Latin verb "fingere" and means nothing other than "to shape, form, imagine". Fiction therefore does not primarily entail the creation of a world of one's own, but can just as well mean the shaping of the existing world, the real. Fiction is thus also a way to gain distance, to question realities, to see them anew.
In their work, artists also explore how meaning and value are constituted in a specific present. What is told, why and how? And what differences, points of friction and overlaps arise when fictions are dedicated to the same theme but realised by different artists with different means?
Alexis Lowry, curator of the Dia Art Foundation, has been invited to reactivate the work of Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985) as part of the Bauhaus residency programme and for the exhibition space and garden of Haus Gropius. The active handling of the serially produced pieces by curators, collectors and visitors was intended by the artist to exclude artistic subjectivity. Her late series made of cardboard and sheet metal are not only reminiscent of ventilation shafts in their form, they also gain an infrastructural character through the avoidance of artistic subjectivity. At longer intervals, visitors will be invited to rearrange Charlotte Posenenske's pieces in space as part of the exhibition programme.
As a writer, Hannes Bajohr works with the mobility of text. He uses digital and conceptual means to edit and rearrange his source materials, which range from literary sources to archive documents to social media posts. By treating text as material, he also reflects on the reality of a digital world where writing is not only a content but also the code that processes it. In some of his works, he consciously draws on modern lines of collage tradition, also further developed at the historical Bauhaus, which can be read today in the context of digital cut-and-paste methods.
Bajohr has researched historical documents relating to the Masters' Houses – such as inventories, cost statements, rental agreements and legal correspondence – in his residence in Dessau; he is interested in the archival level of the infrastructure. He has transformed this collected textual material through appropriation and certain textual procedures (such as restructuring the textual material according to conjunctions) into posters with a serial character that are posted outside the master houses, where they refer to the normally invisible historical background of the houses.
Rita Evans lives and works in Great Britain. For the artist with British-Canadian roots, space is a stage for which she develops objects made of ceramics, textiles, water, wood and metal that move at the intersection of sculpture, display and instrument. The musical performance thrives on communication between the audience and the performers, who play the same instrument together.
Instrument, the work Rita Evans developed for Haus Gropius, creates a connection between individual's body and the space of other bodies, a collective of people that includes the sculpture and its materials. A film shows the documentation of previous workshops in which the instrument was played by individuals. In combination with the drawings, plans and spatial scores created in this context, visitors can experience the exhibition space as a sensual infrastructure.
In cooperation with Literaturhaus Berlin and Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig.