Tuesday, 9 February 2010


 I've always been down with style over substance. When my weird Scottish high school art teacher Mr McLean (who let us listen to The Buzzcock's 'Orgasm Addict' in class) introduced me to Art Nouveau I fell in love with its exaggerated ornamental feminine forms. Paris Metro? Yes please. Beardsley and Mucha's gorgeous statuesque women? Too, too cool.

So I was initially unimpressed with the whole 'functional design' ethos of the Bauhaus movement that followed. It all sounded rather structured, overly strict, masculine and well...darkly, frighteningly German. Dumbo soon saw the error of my ways when I came to appreciate the huge impact Walter Gropius's vision had achieved during the short Weimar period. You know you're onto something once you get closed on account of your degenerative influence.
The Modernist Bauhaus influence on architecture, interiors, furniture and graphics made the centuries of ornamental craftsmanship preceding it seem hopelessly outdated. Clean, minimalist design harmonised an object's aesthetic with its function. Mass production linked the design of household products with the increasing industrialisation of the age. A new post-war era had arrived and didn't it look agonisingly hip.

I did the triple-threat Bauhaus pilgrammage to Berlin, Weimar and Dessau on my travels, visiting many of the original still-functioning buildings. It was a real privilege to see the remnants of a socially democratic vision of a well-designed environment made real. Next stop Israel for the post-WW2 chapter.
Images courtesy of Google

1 comment:

  1. What a funny description of Bauhaus, which, though I enjoyed it's brief stint in my educational upbringing, I far preferred the Nature loving, nudist proto-hippies, The German Expressionists. Nextdoor neighbours to the Bauhaus Family, one assumes...

    Day and Age 18/08/09

    Nowadays, she kisses
    Me at dawn, like a
    Brass player commencing.
    The day starts like a tangelo
    Dream, the Dexter ritual,
    Fashion is dictated by
    The gentiles only start
    Banal propaganda after
    Ten. Insular topics like
    Gender politics, racism,
    Conceptualism or
    God forbid turgid
    History is made famous
    Only on the big screen,

    Art now is
    Ancient as Julius Cesar,
    Except She finds
    Dates on the internet
    While he trawls
    Twentieth century
    Dives. Mumbling
    Semiotics and gestalt
    Psychology, so
    The prolix of the
    Past decade rambles on…
    The signs are vital:
    But her hands are cold.
    Brandon Flowers
    Kisses the girls from his
    As the noonday sun
    Eclipses thought,
    Which is a sin
    Worse than innuendo.

    And in the afternoon
    Salvador fishes for tuna,
    Whilst Obama orders
    Hamburgers with Dijon
    Onboard airforce one
    As Christianity takes
    A stage dive.

    I do not think Lady
    Gaga is a solipsist
    Or will grace us with
    Her anorexic beehive,
    She is putting Mr
    Zimmerman to bed.

    Bowie sips his bergamot,
    Sitting on a throne made
    Of lamp black amplifiers,
    Surveys his cerulean
    Blue architect plans for
    Another hedonist shopping centre,
    Whilst Brian Eno applies his
    Tazer to the neon night.

    After taking my fill
    Of sciptless television,
    I strip tease for chiaroscuro.

    But she has a headache
    And wants to sleep in
    Peter Gabriel’s bed.

    So I sleep, perchance to
    Dream of the
    Weimar Republic.

    By Patrick Hromas, www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/h/hromas