An Exhibition about the Founding of the Bauhaus Comes to Kyoto


Iwao Yamawaki, Bauhaus Dessau, 1931. Musashino Art University, Museum & Library, Tokyo. ©Yamawaki Iwao & Michiko Archives

Founded in Weimar in 1919 before being dissolved in Berlin by the Nazis in 1933, the Bauhaus is a school of art which imposed itself as a key point of reference in the history of twentieth-century art. It was created by Gropius with a view to reimagining housing and architecture by bringing together fine arts, craftsmanship and industry.

A project, entitled ‘Bauhaus Imaginista’, is celebrating the centenary of this art movement and aims to assemble a volume of documents, archives, videos and literature to illustrate the impact that the Bauhaus has had worldwide, at several events.

The MoMAK (Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto) is taking part in the project with its exhibition ‘Corresponding With’, running from 4 August to 8 October 2018. The point of departure for this chapter is the Bauhaus Manifesto, a declaration about the school’s educational philosophy which was published when it was founded. The exhibition looks at the institution’s distinctive programme, notably its preliminary courses, and how these influenced institutes in Japan and India when they came to create their new educational framework for art and design.

And so it was that the Institute of New Architecture and Industrial Arts was founded by architect Kawakita Renshichiro in Tokyo, and the Kala Bhavan was created by poet Rabindranath Tagore in Santiniketan. This comparison of two institutions, rooted in different societies and cultural contexts during the inter-war period, promises to highlight the contemporary but timeless significance of the Bauhaus.

Anonymous, Balance study from László Moholy-Nagy's preliminary course, 1924-25 [1995]. Misawa Bauhaus Collection, Tokyo

Lyonel Feininger, Bauhaus Manifesto, 1919. Osaka City Museum of Modern Art, Osaka