“Art makes you breathe, it gives you space”
Anni Albers, Bauhaus textile artist and printmaker
Deepening Creative Practice: as part of the launch of our new seasonal programme, Rachel Kelly looks at the Bauhaus 100 years on….
One of the most influential and enduring schools of modernism, the Bauhaus has been celebrating its centenary throughout 2019. Some of the best known artists of the Bauhaus include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Joseph Itten.
They and their students have been represented in the Bauhaus Centenary on a world tour Migrant Bauhaus, bringing exhibitions, events and innovative ways of learning as well as three brand new museums to the original homes of the Bauhaus: Weimar, Dessau and Berlin.
“Bauhaus agents” have been developing novel educational formats since 2016 and in preparation for the anniversary celebrations there have been some major exhibitions. There is a Bauhaus Center in Tel Aviv where there is one of the largest collections of Bauhaus buildings in the world and a new exhibition is just beginning, Bauhaus and Modernism in Berlin and Tel Aviv.
At the Royal College of Art in 2018, Bauhaus Imaginista explored synergies between various reform movements worldwide that believe in art as an agent of social change. And the Bauhaus remains a dynamic framework for creativity – offering a space to experiment, explore, make mistakes, notice them, use them, reflect and deliberate, in a series of cycles.
Education at the Bauhaus School was diverse and hands-on, spanning building theory, carpentry, ceramics, fine art, graphic design, glass and mural painting, weaving, geometry and mathematics, business administration, metal, photography, printing and advertising, and plastic arts.
Johannes Itten, one of the founders, was a pioneer of whole-self art teaching and became interested in psychology. He developed a new type of colour wheel, grouped into seasons, and constructed comprehensive colour theories which drew on both science and emotion – these have changed the way colour is seen and still influence artists and designers today.
At the Bauhaus art school, he taught through the study of a series of basic shapes (the line, the plane, the circle, the spiral) as a means from which to begin creating. He also introduced the innovative Preliminary Course to teach students to experiment with the basics of material characteristics, composition and colour.
The course included a psychophysical session each morning. Students practised activities in breathing, rhythm and momentum, as well as routines that were designed to maximize creativity: to reveal the self in the moment as a creative force of colour/shape:
“(S)/he who wants to become a master of colour must see, feel and experience each individual colour in its any endless combinations with all other colours … Colors must have a mystical capacity for spiritual expression, without being tied to objects.”
Itten’s colour sphere is said to be an inspiration for seasonal colour analysis. We are offering a new programme, Deepening Creative Practice which expands over 5 seasons beginning in spring next year. If you’re an artistic practitioner, artist-academic, working artist, concerned and creative citizen, freedom fighter, passionate learner, curious ecologist or bored out-of-the-box agent of life and wellbeing, we invite you to join us.
Designed to be in the spirit of the Bauhaus: innovative and boundary transcending, the programme weaves together the arts / social sciences and will include a psychophysical component, exploring how to access the creative unconscious.
Consultant Contact: Rachel Kelly
Applications for Deepening Creative Practice are now open.