Bauhaus twenty-21
An Ongoing Legacy

Photographs by Gordon Watkinson
Foto+Synthesis

Although the name Bauhaus is well known internationally, few people are truly aware both of the complexity of its history and the diversity of its architectural legacy.

Bauhaus is a German expression meaning “house for building”. Evolving out of the “Arts and Crafts” movement, the Bauhaus school was founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, bringing with him lessons learned under Peter Behrens, a highly influential German architect whose studio helped to develop Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (head of the Bauhaus School, 1930-1933), and Le Corbusier, a leader in the French Modernist movement. Walter Gropius and the two subsequent heads of the school, the architects Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, introduced principles that shaped the foundation of modern architecture. The Bauhaus masters emphasized the creation of classical forms without extraneous ornamentation; embracing technology, their philosophy stressed the search for solutions to contemporary design problems in urban planning, housing and utilitarian mass-production.

Conceived as a multidisciplinary project encompassing architecture, design, and photography, Bauhaus twenty-21 not only conveys the architectural history, but also illustrates the enduring philosophies of the Bauhaus. The exhibition, by creating a visual as well as theoretical dialogue between the timeless modernism of Bauhaus architecture and the visions of contemporary practitioners, offers a unique perspective on Bauhaus design philosophy as it relates to architecture and its relevance in today’s society.

Sample Photos

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Gordon Watkinson

Gordon Watkinson was born in 1964 in Charlottesville, Virginia (USA). Watkinson borrowed a camera for a photography class he took at the age of 24 while attending Virginia Commonwealth University (USA). Although he had never previously thought of photography in a serious way, after completing the course his professor saw enough in his work that he encouraged Watkinson to reconsider his career choice and arranged for him to begin working as a photographic assistant. Watkinson’s subsequent work as a commercial photographer spanned a broad range of clients from the fields of advertising, architecture, design, and fashion. In conjunction with his photographic work he has directed commercials, made industrial videos, and worked directly with major corporations as well as specialized brands, helping them to develop visual strategies for targeted markets.

Over the years he developed a strong sensitivity for both forms and materials, which has shaped his visual language and strengthened his fascination for holistic minimalist design. During a trip to the Bauhaus School in Dessau/Germany in the late 1990s Watkinson was introduced to the role of design as a solution to social issues. This became the catalyst for an intense and ongoing interaction with architecture, design, and urbanism, leading to a series of projects that visually and conceptually explore major architectural shifts and their relevance in today’s society.

Watkinson’s work has been exhibited and published internationally. In addition to his exhibitions Watkinson regularly lectures and teaches workshops in major museums and educational institutions in the USA and Europe (most notably at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo/Norway, and at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar/Germany). His work is in the permanent collection of the German Architecture Museum, Frankfurt/Germany and in various private collections.

Michael Siebenbrodt

Michael Siebenbrodt, Director of the Bauhaus-Museum in Weimar. Mr. Siebenbrodt is the co-author of The Bauhaus-Museum: The Kunstsammlungen in Weimar (1996), a chronological survey of art and art schools in Weimar between 1900 and 1930, and an overview of the prominent teachers and their work and theories. From 1985 to 1988, he was a researcher for the "Zentrum für Gestaltung" at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and during his last year there was head of the collection.

Prof. Dr. Falk Jaeger

Prof. Dr. Falk Jaeger, free lance critic, editor and curator in Berlin. Mr. Jaeger worked 1983-1988 for the Institute of History of Architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. 1993 to 2000 he was appointed Chair of Theory of Architecture at the Technical University of Dresden. 2001 until 2002, he was editor in chief of the German architecture magazine Bauzeitung. Today he is working on architecture theory and history of architecture for major newspapers and architecture magazines, radio and TV stations.

 

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Photographs by Gordon Watkinson
(inkjet prints mounted on aluminum): 77

  • 65 x 85 cm / 26 x 34 inches: 37
  • 85 x 115 cm / 34 x 46 inches: 16
  • 104 x 145 cm / 42 x 58 inches: 24

Set of Plans: 24

  • 30 x 30 cm / 12 x 12 inches: 3
  • 45 x 45 cm / 18 x 18 inches: 9
  • 60 x 60 cm / 24 x 24 inches: 12

Furniture & objects (re-editions): 17

  • Chairs and side tables: 14
  • Lamps: 3

Space Requirements:

  • 400 square meters - 4,300 square feet
  • 150 running meters - 500 running feet

Security: Limited

Participation fee: Upon request

 

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Foto+Synthesis offers the following educational opportunities with Gordon Watkinson:

Telling a Story: Photography & Architecture

2 day-workshop for middle and high school students
Participants will learn how to use a series of photographs to illustrate a personal vision while developing an awareness of the local built environment as well as the architectural heritage of their surroundings.



Anatomy of a Photo Project

1 day-seminar for university photography & art students, or/and general audience
Participants will learn how to develop a photographic project, from conception
through planning for its realization in book or/and exhibition form.




Guided Tours

    Guided tours of the exhibition with photographer Gordon Watkinson for a wide audience.

 

Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy

 

Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy

 

Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy
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March 7 – April 26, 2009

 

 

Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt

Bauhaus twenty-21

May 8 – July 5, 2009

 

 

International Cultural Centre, Krakow
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Krakow

Bauhaus twenty-21

July 17 – September 19, 2009

Extended until October 24, 2009

 

Forum d'Urbanisme et d'Architecture, Nice

Bauhaus twenty-21

February 26 – March 14, 2010

 

 

Haus der Gegenwart, Munich
In collaboration with the Süddeutsche Zeitung - Magazin and the Consulate General of the United States Munich

Bauhaus twenty-21

March 23 – March 26, 2010

 

 

Nordic Building & Construction Fair, Stockholm

Bauhaus twenty-21

April 23 – June 20, 2010

 

 

Jakopič Gallery, Ljubljana
In collaboration with the National Gallery of Slovenia and the Goethe-Institut Ljubljana

Narodna Galerja Narodna Galerija Goethe-Institut, Ljubljana

Bauhaus twenty-21

March 4 – March 27, 2011

 

 

design factory, Bratislava
In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Bratislava and the Embassy of the United States of America

Design FactoryGoethe Institut Bratislava Embassy of the United States of America

October 23, 2011 – February 5, 2012

 

 

CIVA Centre International pour la Ville, l’Architecture
et le Paysage, Brussels

Centre International pour la Ville, l'Architecture et le Paysage

Bauhaus twenty-21

June 8 – September 29, 2012

 

 

Yksi Expo, Eindhoven

Yksi Expo, Eindhoven

Bauhaus twenty-21

January 25 – May 4, 2013

 

 

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, Auburn (AL)

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, Auburn (AL)

Bauhaus twenty-21

May 24 – September 1, 2013

 

 

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock (AR)

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock (AR)

Bauhaus twenty-21

August 24 – October 20, 2013

 

 

Tampere Art Museum, Tampere

Tampere Art Museum, Tampere

Bauhaus twenty-21

September 21, 2013 – January 4, 2014

 

 

Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis (TN)

Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Memphis (TN)

Bauhaus twenty-21

January 25 – May 4, 2014

 

 

Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville (OK)

Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville (OK)

Bauhaus twenty-21

October 11 – December 6, 2014

 

 

University of Idaho, Prichard Art Gallery

University of Idaho, Prichard Art Gallery

Bauhaus twenty-21

January 22 – May 1, 2016

Closing Venue

 

Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs (CA)

Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs (CA)

Bauhaus twenty-21
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"The most original exhibition and publication on the topic of the Bauhaus came 2009 from New York photographer Gordon Watkinson: [...] a project at the intersection between conceptual art and architecture theory, that one can only recommend."
Hans-Michael Koetzle, PHOTO International (Germany)
"It is not raw functionalism that inspire the photographs of Gordon Watkinson. Using light and shadow, the photographer represents the beauty of the geometrical forms, thus underlining the abstract roots of the aesthetic we know from the work of both Kandinsky and Mondrian."
Maja Mozga-Gorecka, Rzeczpospolita (Poland)
"Watkinson succeeds not only in unveiling traces of the Bauhaus in contemporary architecture; his photographs bring buildings to life as real tangible experiences, wondrously tinged in grey and blue."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany)
"In recent months a number of exhibitions have shown that the Bauhaus was not a doctrine but a cradle for different ideas and concepts. Just how vibrant and fundamental these concepts still are for contemporary architectural projects can be seen in a magnificent solo exhibition by the New York and Paris based photographer Gordon Watkinson. [...] Watkinson has skillfully chosen aesthetically timeless motifs that portray the living environments of the past as a model for a way of life today."
Sandra Hofmeister, Baumeister (Germany)
"A true revelation."
Nice Matin (France)
"For the American photographer Gordon Watkinson, the architecture of the Bauhaus masters Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Hannes Meyer, Georg Muche and Richard Paulick are works of art, which he has portrayed with discerning reverence. […] In the DAM in Frankfurt, this photographic dialogue is played out in a landscape of room-high planes that evoke the modernist ideal of flowing space. The exhibition illustrates just how much the appearance and inventiveness of architecture is linked to developments in society."
Radio Bayern 2 (Germany)

 

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Bauhaus twenty-21

Companion publication to the exhibition
Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy
Photographs by Gordon Watkinson

Gordon Watkinson
Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy
With texts by Falk Jaeger and Peter Cachola Schmal, as well as contributions by Michael Siebenbrodt and twelve prominent architects
140 duotone photographs and 60 line drawings
240 x 290 mm, 232 pages, hardback
2009 Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel

ISBN 978-3-0346-0054-5
(English Edition)
ISBN 978-3-0346-0055-2
(German Edition)

Conceived as a multidisciplinary project encompassing architecture, design, and photography, Bauhaus twenty-21: An Ongoing Legacy is the first critical and visual exploration of the Bauhaus heritage in the context of contemporary living and architecture.

The companion publication displays interpretative photographs of Bauhaus classics in direct dialogue with some of the most innovative buildings of early 21st century architecture, all captured by the lens of New York photographer Gordon Watkinson.

With contributions by Peter Cachola Schmal, director of the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt, Michael Siebenbrodt, director of the Bauhaus-Museum in Weimar, Prof. Dr. Jaeger, a prominent architecture historian and critic, and an international set of modern-day architects discussing the legacy of Bauhaus ideas and formal language as they are reflected in their work.

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© 2014 Foto+Synthesis