Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bauhaus at the Barbican

Barbican Centre London

B A U H A U S   A T   T H E   B A R B I C A N 
Well, summer came to London last Sunday and so my friend and I shunned public transport in favour of a leisurely stroll in the 'long time coming' but nonetheless very welcome sunshine. 
Our starting point was Camden and our destination was the 'Bauhaus: Art as Life' exhibition at the Barbican. The last time I visited the Barbican was to see the work of architect and product designer Ron Arad. I also had the pleasure of bumping into Matt Horne (from Gavin & Stacey) in the canteen so it was a win/win kind of day, 2 for the price of 1.

It was very nice stroll indeed for the first mile or so, nipping in and out of shops and gawping at all the old and new architecture, shop fronts, olympic prep stuff and so on .... but then my new sandals ensured that the rest of the walk (about another 2 miles) was going to be anything but leisurely or pleasure-ly. 
Anyhow painful, blistered feet aside we finally arrived bang on time for our timed slot. Advance booking had been advised but as it's the tail end of the exhibition it wasn't too busy and not much neck straining had to be done to see the displays plus it was l o v e l y and cool.

If you're a fan of modern architecture as I am then the Barbican building and surrounding housing estate are worth visiting and taking a little meander through the walkways, there is even a conservatory and aviary that I had never spotted previous to this visit. The building is an example of 1970's Brutalist Architecture and was voted London's ugliest buildings in a poll in 2003.

Bauhaus typography
'A   D R I V I N G  F O R C E   I N   M O D E R N I S M' 

I have been a Bauhaus 'fan' for quite some time and love the work of the Constructivists with their geometric shapes and forms. The Constructivist guys joined the Bauhaus in 1923 four years after it began in Weimar and for me that's when things got really interesting. The Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, it was set up to challenge society and find a new way of living. 
There are over 400 works on display including architecture, painting, photography, product design, textiles and theatre. As you work your way around the exhibition form top to bottom the whole story of the Bauhaus unfolds.
It's well worth a visit if you're brave enough to fight your way through the olympic malarkey. I personally would advise against public transport and travel by foot but take my advice and wear some decent footwear.

Bauhaus building, Dessau
This is what the Barbican says about the exhibition: 'The biggest Bauhaus exhibition in the UK in over 40 years presents the modern world’s most famous art school. From expressionist beginnings to a pioneering model uniting art and technology, this London exhibition presents the Bauhaus’ utopian vision to change society in the aftermath of the First World War. Bauhaus: Art as Life explores the diverse artistic production that made up its turbulent fourteen-year history and delves into the subjects at the heart of the school: art, culture, life, politics and society, and the changing technology of the age.'

The exhibition finishes on the 12th August.  http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=12409

Herbert Bayer Typography

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
Paul Klee ' Tomb in Three Parts 1923'
The two images above were amongst my favorite exhibits, I had never seen that particular work by Paul Klee before, which looks like a photograph and the Moholy-Nagy work was truly inspiring...love it!!

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