Research: Bauhaus Textiles #1

For my contextual studies essay, I will be researching one of the most historical moments in art and design- The Bauhaus.

I watched this short clip which vaguely introduced Bauhaus art and its significance today.

  • Bauhaus was a German school, founded in the early 1900s
  • It was primarily a school of art and design, particularly architectural design
  • Students were taught to design with the idea of “mass-production” in mind
  • The word “Bauhaus” was an inversion of “Haus Bau” which roughly translates from German as “House Construction”.
  • Today, Bauhaus is known to be a primary influence in a Architecture, and it is legendary till this day

This video was a much more detailed source, and there were also images and a 3D viewing of the Bauhaus school and its architecture.

  • The Bauhaus began in 1919
  • Walter Gropius (1883-1969) founded a school with a vision of filling in the gap between art and indusrty by combining crafts and fine arts
  • The school has glass walls, right angles and flat roofs
  • Its one of the most famous buildings in 20th century architecture
  • Bauhaus movement- literally means the art of building
  • They wanted to create a new industrial aesthetic- this is now called Design!
  • There was metal working, joinery (the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, doors, and door and window frames), weaving, painting , stage crafts, acting and dancing
  • Colour was taught in workshops run by Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky
  • Our current appliances and furniture  started here
  • Gropius believed that all design should be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing
  • There was movement, confrontation and encounters between students in other areas of disciplines
  • Bauhaus was influenced by:  Modernism, the English Arts, Crafts and Movement and Constructivism (assorted mechanical objects are combined into abstract mobile structural forms)
  • It’s the birthplace of steel furniture.
  • “Bauhaus” has become a synonym for any modern furniture
  • Established a new guild of craftsmen, without class divisions that set out to raise an arrogant barrier between artists

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The Bauhaus School- different perspectives of the building

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In addition, there had been a dedicated exhibition to the Bauhaus in 2012 at the Barbican centre in London, and I found a PDF form of the learning resource guide for it. This rich source of material provided definitions and short biography descriptions of people who were involved. Overall, the gallery portrayed a genuine insight into their utopian vision to change society in the aftermath of WWI.

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These are terms which I had to search up within the definitions:

  • Vanguard- the forefront of new developments or ideas
  • Modernism- a movement towards modifying traditional beliefs in accordance with modern ideas, especially in the Roman Catholic Church in 19th century and early 20th centuries
  • Expressionism- (1905-1925) a style of painting, music, or drama which the writer or artist seeks to express the inner world of emotion rather than external reality
  • Dada- Early 20th century art movement mocking social conventions and emphasising the illogical and absurd

Highlights from the learning resource PDF:

  • Gropius was influenced by William Morris (1834-96) and his idea of improving people’s experience of life today
  • It was all about testing ideas through experience, Itton would have his students study by touching the textures blindfolded
  • Methods like these were seen as “unlearning” (discarding something learned like a bad habit or false, outdated information from memory)
  • Stölz let her students experiment weaving as a technology, even though designs would be produced by machine, she made them use a hand loom, as hand-led experimentation created radical compositions that cannot be done by pen on paper

I now have a good, strong knowledge of Bauhaus art as a whole, and it’s modern purpose in art and design. I find it so exciting how close their morales are to what we face today in art, which is having an open mind and taking risks as we experiment in materials, techniques and ideas. Now, I will focus on the textiles aspect of this period and how it comtributes into our vision today.

 

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