Bauhaus at Folkwang

Staging the World

28 April – 8 September 2019

To mark the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, Museum Folkwang is offering an insight into its own collections. A shifting interplay between painting, works on paper, posters, photography and the moving image, this series of three collection displays traces the various lines of connection between Museum Folkwang and the Bauhaus. In the course of this year of the Bauhaus, Museum Folkwang will take a look at the Expressionist beginnings of the school with Lyonel Feininger (18.1 – 14.4.2019), present the Staging the World of the Bauhaus (28.4 – 8.9.2019) and, focusing on the example of László Moholy-Nagy, will showcase the school’s turn to photography and film (20.9 – Dec. 2019).

Staging the World showcases some 40 works that demonstrate how a love of experimentation and a zest for staging was a factor unifying life and work at the Bauhaus. Prints and photographs shed a light on performances that only ran for a limited time and were thus transitory; in the Museum foyer they are brought to life by projections visitors can view in the Filmbox. The exhibits illustrate the development of the famous Bauhaus theatre and also examine less well-known phases like the early Expressionist era or the agitprop theatre of the young Bauhaus theatre, which was set up in the final year of the theatre workshop.

In 1921, Lothar Schreyer (1886–1966) was appointed as the first master of the Stage workshop in Weimar. A body of seven prints are shown to illustrate Schreyer’s Expressionist theatrical artworks, which included  the play Kreuzigung (Crucifixion) (1920) but there is also an early score for the poetry of August Stramm (1917–20) entitled Erinnerung (Recollection). The latter was acquired especially for the Staging the World exhibition at Museum Folkwang.
The second body of work is devoted to the mask. Photographic works by Grete Stern (1904–1999), Gyula Pap (1899–1983) or Josef Albers (1888–1976) demonstrate that the mask retained its important role in Bauhaus productions after Oskar Schlemmer (1888–1943) took over the theatre workshop in 1923.
In addition, the only remaining draft piece in Essen for the so-called Folkwang Cycle (1928) by Oskar Schlemmer will likewise be on show. It reveals how the new Bauhaus building in Dessau itself featured in the artworks by Bauhaus members. This aspect is addressed in the exhibition in selected photographs by László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) but also in a number of works by Theodore Lux Feininger (1910–2011).
Six photographs by Marianne Brandt (1893–1983) highlight the connection between artistic production in the workshops and the culture of theatres and festivals. The images demonstrate Brandt’s highly varied treatment of light both in the medium of metal but also in photography. This fourth body of work is intended not least of all to draw attention to the work of an artist who was one of few women at Bauhaus to be made the head of a workshop.

Supported by

Marianne Brandt
Selbstportrait mit Schmuck zum Metallischen Fest, Februar 1929, Reprint 1993
Museum Folkwang, Essen, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019