Founded by German architect Walter Gropius in 1919, the Bauhaus school was the first to really combine art and design with technology. The art school grew in influence to become a movement of its own, known for its unique aesthetics merging fine art with other art and design disciplines such as architecture and graphic design. To celebrate 100 years since the founding of Bauhaus, Tokyo Station Gallery and Tokyo Photographic Art Museum are holding a Bauhaus exhibition and Bauhaus film festival.
At the Tokyo Station Gallery, the exhibition ‘100th anniversary of the founding of Bauhaus’ is on until September 6 and will showcase notable artists from the movement like Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, as well as some Japanese artists who based their work on the principles of Bauhaus. Roughly 300 works will be featured, ranging from metalwork, pottery, textiles and furniture to printing, advertising and stage design. Many of the works on display were created by students for assignments at the Bauhaus school.
The film festival will be held at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum from August 8 to August 28. The lineup features films in several languages that tell a detailed story of the radical experimentation at the Bauhaus that sparked a century of revolutionary creative thinking. Here are the featured films.
Bauhaus - Modell und Mythos
Duration: 103 minutes
The Bauhaus school was a seed that sprouted into a global movement, changing the world of design forever. The institution started an irresistible trend that combined art and craftsmanship with modern technology. This documentary tells the unique story of how the Bauhaus was founded and the revolutionary ideas generated by some of its former students.
Vom Bauen der Zukunft - 100 Jahre Bauhaus
Duration: 95 minutes
This documentary looks back on the last 100 years since the birth of Bauhaus as well as how its influence is continuing to shape designs of the future. From the visionary Bauhaus building in Dessau that started it all to modern Scandinavian schools without classrooms, the film provides an inspiring perspective on how the spaces and objects we use every day are designed and what makes them so extraordinary.
Duration: 45 minutes
Directly translated as ‘Bauhaus Women’, this is a documentary about the female artists who were often overlooked in favor of their male colleagues during the early 1900s. Part of Gropius’s vision for the Bauhaus involved drastically changing the way men and women functioned in modern society and creating an equal environment. But how were the women of the Bauhaus actually treated and were they recognised as true equals of their male counterparts? Find out through intimate journal entries and accounts from the descendents of the female students from the school.
Mies On Scene
Duration: 59 minutes
A visual masterpiece, ‘Mies On Scene’ won numerous awards for its recount of how Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich made waves in the world of architecture when they designed the iconic Barcelona Pavilion. Though the building was demolished in 1930, just eight years after its completion, its structure and design had such a lasting impact on the minds of those who saw it that it was rebuilt decades later and is now celebrated as one of the most important buildings in the history of modern architecture.
Fagus- Walter Gropius und die Fabrik der Moderne
Duration: 27 minutes
This short documentary revolves around the Fagus Factory, which was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2011. The factory, built in 1911, is the first architectural structure to be completed by Walter Gropius. With its large windows and modern designs, the factory symbolised social reform and demonstrated a new standard of ethical treatment for industrial workers. The Fagus Factory shows the deep connection between avant-garde aspirations in architecture and changing political and social ideas in the early 20th century.
Max Bill - Das absolute Augenmass
Duration: 94 minutes
Max Bill was a Swiss architect and designer who is considered to be one of the most important Bauhaus artists in history, and is particularly famous for the watches he designed. This documentary, directed by Eric Schmid, explores the artist's work, which sits at the intersection of art, aesthetics and politics.
Duration: 89 minutes
In the years following the disbandment of the Bauhaus, one man sought to resurrect it as a school in Chicago in 1937. That man was László Moholy-Nagy, a modernist who had been a professor at the original Bauhaus school before it closed. Though his new school was short lived, Moholy-Nagy’s extraordinary talent was enough to leave a legacy that breathed new life into the world of art and design in the United States.
Tickets for the Bauhaus film festival are ¥1,800 for adults, ¥1,500 for university and high school students, and ¥1,100 for children and seniors over 60. See the event’s official website for the screening schedule.
Check out our guide on staying safe when you go out in Tokyo.
More art in Tokyo