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Video transcript

this is Steven Zucker and Juliana chronic and we are discussing Lionel finding us cathedral of the future from 1919 this was one of the primary images of the Bauhaus right it was the starting image was its intent actually marketing right it was a brochure this was a graphic work that was intended to be in poster format as a kind of announcement for the opening of the school of this new Bauhaus it's fabulous okay so now first it's a woodcut and it's it's rendered in a way that makes it feel very rough not polished I always think of it as a very stark graphic work in its most raw sense because of all the lines and black and white and there's a bit of texture that you can almost see the impression from the wood but then you also see of all these angular sharp lines that come out you see something emerging from within that this is the Cathedral of the future but it's so not what we think of when we think of the Bauhaus you know when I think of the Bauhaus I think it is something that's completely concerned with the technology of the present yeah right and and concerned with to some extent craft not concerned with the religious but in fact early on the Bauhaus was actually concerned maybe not with the religious but with the spiritual definitely the spiritual this definitely has a sense that you're looking at something otherworldly but don't forget of course this is a German school so the sense of the spiritual and the Cathedral they're all kind of connected and art making is of that so this is 1919 Germany is going through tremendous transition at this moment right and so is this just at the moment of the revolution in Germany what's what's happening everything is happening in terms of post-war chaos and Reformation rebuilding culture rebuilding buildings rebuilding a sort of sense of purpose it's interesting how the Bauhaus then becomes this fulcrum for the way in which the spiritual transforms itself into the technological or into the industrial technology and spirituality and redemption all of those sort of things come into play after World War one there is such a sense of decimation and hopelessness but here we have this image where there's sort of a sense of optimism something that you're sort of looking up at and looking forward to and we could really talk about what the cathedral represents to the devout house and really what is it about building what is the word Bauhaus even means well the pow'rs refers to the small building or workshop that would be just outside of a large medieval and building campaign for perhaps for a Cathedral in fact so you have actually the shop where the Masons are doing their work outside and it is a place I think as it was originally understood by crocus the artists would come together where there would be a unity of arts so that all of the crafts were in a sense working in unison to the betterment of that culture of the betterment of that society you know we should talk about who Gropius was okay so Gropius was an architect right and was the first director the first was really the founder of the Bauhaus and so that's why we see that architecture is featured so prominently if you look at his diagram of the curriculum of the Bauhaus architecture is in the center and it is really positioned as with the summation of all of the arts because it's perceived in having elements of art making you have design craftsmanship color you have form you have space all these different dimensionalities everything that's featured within architecture so this may actually answer a question for me because one of the things that I was thinking about what I was looking at this print is why would finding or choose a woodcut if it seems so historical really what we're talking about is a kind of return to a unity of the art so the Bauhaus is looking towards a kind of promise and looking forward it is also very much trying to retrieve a kind of lost I definitely the graphic piece it's a woodcut so you're working with your hands to carve out the design and then the cathedral coming into view and there's a directness because of the quality of the woodcut that is very immediate and we can really feel and it says the tactile nature of the block for which it was carved yeah you know it's also so smart if you think about technology is what reproduces well a woodcut meant for reproduction this is sort of looking forward to technology reproduction whether they're looking to advertise it's a marketing device what's going to work best in order to show everybody what their new school is about and what kind of ideology they're trying to promote it's interesting and that notion of the technological of a promise in the sense of exploration is also I think referred to in the crystalline quality you know if you look at the kind of expressionist architecture that's being produced at this time in Germany what actually there was an economic crisis and very little money much of it was paper architecture that is to say really fanciful designs but very often looking to this notion of the crystal light the future as expressed through a series of sort of the drama and play of contrasting light and shadow and I think we see that clearly rendered here these themes resonate throughout the time period of the Bauhaus just 1919 to 1933 so at this point Gropius starts to school and and then it sort of remade of course in Gropius will truly remake it when he gets to Dessau um and is able to design the building in which it or the buildings in which it's housed and then the coursework will grow and expand and we'll have all kinds of changes but this really is the primary or original piece yeah in a sense this kind of founding documenting document that's the word foundational document even you know is what this is probably best considered at by the time we get to the end of the Bauhaus is Ron and in the early 1930s spiritual is to some extent excise or the idea of the spiritual transitions into something else into notions of spiritual to technology and so interesting so yeah yes I think the idea of what someone is connected with spiritually changes terrific Thanks thank you