Picture Perfect

Mildly Enthusiastic Review: Bauhaus in Motion

When we were in Berlin we didn’t have as much time for sightseeing as we would’ve wanted but we listed a few attractions we were determined to see and this included the Bauhaus-Archiv, the museum collecting and curating all things Bauhaus. At the time (and still) the museum has been presenting an exhibition called

er-bauhausinmotionBauhaus in Motion

Category: Events

What it is:
A temporary exhibition housed in the Bauhaus-Archiv which focuses on the notion of movement in the teachings and the very history of Bauhaus, the extremely influential design school operating in 1919–1933 in Germany (which you probably knew, sorry). As Bauhaus is such a cornerstone in the history of modernism and we are, to a large extent, modernists at heart, we did feel the deep need to visit the museum. The exhibition itself shows some students’ and professors’ works created in the classes and studios and archival photographs with some – not a lot – information printed on the walls.

How I found it:
I think our friend Z, who was planning her own Berlin trip, mentioned the Archive and then we just found it in the travel guide. We had no idea the exhibition we saw was temporary until we read about it later.

Summary judgment:
It was not a bad exhibition but altogether I found it disappointing (and, frankly, not quite worth the admission price). I would’ve wanted to see at least one of these two things: either four times as many exhibits or a really impressive design of the exhibition that would make the idea immediately clear. Ideally both.

Best things about it:
Some of the exhibits were interesting – many in the predictable way but some surprised me, particularly photos from PE classes (which horrified me in its own way to think that the estimable Bauhaus school tortured its students with PE classes).

Worst things about it:
As I already said, it was too small, which made it both unsatisfactory and random-looking. There were simply not enough exhibits (and not enough space, probably) to tell a captivating story.

Other pluses:
The building is quite nice and located in a curious area: an embassy paradise where all the buildings are huge and house various embassies of more and less exotic countries. It made for a pleasant walk to get there, particularly that the Tiergarten was partly open that day despite the church day celebrations and we could finally see most of this lovely park.
As for the exhibition itself, knowing that this was a temporary exhibition focused on a particular aspect of the Bauhaus’ history makes it better because I can assume that visiting other smallish exhibitions like this one creates quite a detailed knowledge about the Bauhaus. Too bad we live too far to make it a habit.

Other minuses:
The cafeteria was not great. We love visiting museum cafeterias but most of the places we visited in Berlin disappointed in this respect.
Also, I know it was before renovations but the exhibition space wasn’t really that great (neither the architecture nor lighting) and the lack of legible design for the exhibition made it hard to understand the particular selection of exhibits.

How it enriched my life:
I learned about those PE classes in the Bauhaus school. It was also interesting to see the course projects that students made. Also, the trip made for a rather pleasant walk.

Fun fact:
You can’t buy much of proper food in the museum but you can buy copies of original Bauhaus designs, like chess sets and a lot of toys and cups. They are fun to look at but crazy overpriced.

Follow-up:
I imagine when we visit Berlin some time after the renovations in the museum we will be happy to revisit it and hopefully by then there will be a more impressive and well-rounded collection on display.

Recommended for:
People interested in the history of design and modernism. People with no patience for exhibitions that take a lot of time to see.

Enjoyment:
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Next time: God Don’t Like Ugly

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