Bauhaus balconies in Dessau, 1927. photo: László Moholy-Nagy. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin

Taking a Stand?

Debating the Bauhaus and Modernism

An international symposium of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in the context of original bauhaus
29/30 November 2019, Berlinische Galerie

The symposium was concerned on a number of levels with the idea of taking a stand. It first considered the attitude of Bauhaus exponents and modernist architects living as émigrés or in exile or in divided post-war Germany, working in conflict situations and areas of tension. To what extent are their ideas regarding the planning and construction of buildings for a ›new world‹ changing in other political, economic and social contexts? Questions relating to attitude and standpoint encompass learning processes, too, which have lost none of their relevance in light of the current challenge to acknowledge and meet local needs in a globalised world.

The question of stands adopted also impinges on our present-day relationship to the Bauhaus and on our cultural self-awareness. The attitude in the past towards the Bauhaus and Bauhaus pedagogy in Sweden, Latin America and China, which makes itself felt in processes of exchange, translation and transformation, has shown the Bauhaus to be a transnational and transcultural network of relationships featuring asymmetrical power structures. How does this realisation – running counter to the idea of Bauhaus as a »major German export« – affect the way we deal with the Bauhaus? And how do our principles and standards come to bear?

Attitudes inform the processes of reception and suppression in the writing of history and in remembrance politics. Which self-image or self-awareness, which world view and which projections into the future underpin these attitudes? And how much scope do we have for new discoveries, peripheral perspectives and transformation processes?

The event brought together international academics and students from the Paula Fürst and Nelson Mandela Schools in a non-public workshop as part of the Bauhaus Agents Programme and invited the students to participate in the opening evening and discussion.

With simultaneous interpretation in German / English

Concept and coordination: Andrea Bärnreuther, Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung

Full programme (PDF)

The event was supported by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the »original bauhaus« exhibition project. The centenary exhibition of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin, in cooperation with the Berlinische Galerie is supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the German Federal Cultural Foundation.