Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bauhaus: The face of the twentieth century, a documentary on the legendary school of architecture

video topic: Architecture, art, design
entry type: Documentary
entry no:

video title: Bauhaus: The face of the twentieth century
artist featured: all Bauhaus architects, artists
director: Frank Whitford

run time: 50 mins
size: 3.57gb
release date: 1994

official website:

description and preview:
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Bauhaus – The Face of the 20th Century, written and narrated by Frank Whitford, is an art documentary depicting the visual science generated from the outpouring of avant-garde ideas of this innovative educational undertaking. Great teachers such as Swiss artists Paul Klee and Johannes Itten, together with Russian-born Wassily Kandinsky (the inventor of abstract art), taught the Bauhaus Foundations course concentrating on color, form and geometry. These skills sharpened students’ perceptions and allowed the exploration of personal feelings and senses with an application to abstract art. Itten utilized Froebel’s theory of education by play that is commonly used in many schools today. Sculptor and painter Oskar Schlemmer was the creative force behind the Theatrical Department applying all elements into community theatre. His architectural sense, paintings and dance interpretations were dramatic examples of progressive theory. Ideas and inventions ran rampant in the attitude of bohemian independence causing Weimar residents to shy away from the radical art students of the Bauhaus.

A must for art students to witness the historical departure from fundamental teaching into a more individualized style. Many of the designs that we take for granted today came from the Bauhaus experience. Modern, clean design in graphics, advertising, photography and typography; efficient and aesthetically functional furniture designs, i.e. the Wassily chair created by Marcel Breuer, have become icons of the era; gadgetry and kitchen conveniences with their smooth, clean European shapes were realized from Bauhaus minds. Innovations in stained glass, woven tapestries and textiles, pottery, metalwork, and carpentry expanded beyond the creative realms of fundamental education.

Children often play with brightly colored geometrical shapes inspired by the school’s Foundation course. Bauhaus design was utilized by industry for mass production. The creative innovations of the Bauhaus were not contained within their walls. The publically-funded school assisted the government with affordable housing designs to accommodate the ordinary man on the street, such as Weimar’s 1923 House Am Horn. Economical and ecologically efficient prefabricated homes were designed by the Bauhaus Dessau architectural department to alleviate the housing shortage of the city.

Originally, the Bauhaus was the vision of idealists, dreamers, mystics and visionaries, and it accomplished its end. But unfortunately, the government’s inconsistencies demanded more and more control and the educational freedom for teachers and students became stifled to where freedom no more had a breath. The final blow occurred in Berlin as the school system struggled to remain open. The Nazi noise of rampage, April 11, 1933, destroyed building, contents, and even escorted students off-campus as cultural Bolsheviks.

The Bauhaus had contributed much to the world of art, but was unfortunately extinguished by the harsh foot of extremist politics. But the teachers, students, visual energy and ideas escaped to Europe and America and found new life in architecture, sculpture, painting and design as a crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith.

Bonus features on Bauhaus – The Face of the 20th Century include a Picture Gallery with 40 stills of Bauhaus photographs, including the school’s Big Band and Weavers with several shots of Bauhaus in Dessau; works by Gunta Stolzl, Marianne Brandt, Josef Hartwig, among others. Also included is the Trailer of artists’ mini-biographies of Chagall, Kahlo and Manet. Included in the package is Impressum, a text by Steffi Schultzke, and translated by Kennedy & Unglaub. The text gives more in-depth biography of Bauhaus and its contributions. Commentaries include Philip Johnson, Michael Siebenbrodt, Professor Kurt Kranz, Charles Jencks, Walter Gropius, Marcks Gerhard, Professor Christopher Frayling, George Adams, Dr. Alex Armstrong, Proffesor Gillian Naylor, and Dr. Peter Hahn.

This historical account of Bauhaus – The Face of the 20th Century is an excellent resource for art lovers and students and sets the stage for many of the modern artists who grew from its influence. I would suggest subtitles be presented, and within the same language as selected, for a more convenient and thorough viewing.

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