Crossing Lines

László Moholy-Nagy, Right Hand in Green, May 20th 1926
Courtesy of Hattula Moholy-Nagy

 

Opening: August 24, 7 pm

Exhibition: August 24 - November 3rd, 2019

curated by Christian Oxenius and Jan Tichy

with the handprint of Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy

and works of

Heba Y. Amin, Jakob Gautel, Olaf Holzapfel, Reuven Israel, Kostis Velonis and Jan Tichy

 

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School in Weimar Kunsthalle Osnabrück will present Crossing Lines, an exhibition developed by artist and educator Jan Tichy and curator Christian Oxenius.

The concept for the exhibition, opening August 24, takes its initial inspiration from an unusual find in László Moholy-Nagy’s estate: a series of life-size print of his hand, as well as of other „Bauhäusler“, taken in May 1926 by the great Hungarian artist and leading figure of the Bauhaus. While probably the result of Moholy-Nagy’s interest in palmistry and spiritual practices, not at all uncommon within the Bauhaus, we cannot be certain about the precise reason that lead a group of thirteen individuals (among which Kandinsky, Breuer, Brandt and Moholy-Nagy himself) to produce these documents never exhibited before collectively. The handprints in this context contain a future prediction, told at a time in which modernism, as product of the Positivism of the 19th century, was both at its peak and yet was already showing signs of the fundamental flaws that led to its crisis, visible to this day. Their aura of mystery and mysticism, as well as the sense of community they express, makes the setting of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, as former monastery, an ideal space in which to unfold a series of questions present in the many histories of the Bauhaus but too often missing from its public image.

These documents served as inspiring elements for a dialogue between Tichy and Oxenius leading to a selection of contemporary artists that with their practice and through the narratives they develop crossed the lines separating the complexity of the Bauhaus as a place for “experimentation (line of the introduction)” with its common narrative as a site of production of rationalist modernism. The contribution of Heba Y. Amin, Jakob Gautel, Olaf Holzapfel, Reuven Israel, Kostis Velonis and Tichy himself although developed independently entail a form of collective thinking and action, reflected in the spatial arrangements taken in the Kunsthalle and in the conceptual underpinning of the works.

The title Crossing Lines suggests this interplay between positions and narratives in the works presented in Osnabrück but serves also as an opening to the collaboration with the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Chicago. The renown Chicago based institution, founded by Moholy-Nagy in 1937, will show a parallel exhibition to Crossing Lines held in the Carr Chapel designed by "Bauhäusler" Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the United States, and opening in September as an extension and expansion of the dialogue with the hand-prints as well as a publication, the first occasion in which these objects are extensively discussed in literature.

The works on display will include both previously exhibited artworks as well as new productions designed specifically for the occasion.

Heba Y. Amin (* 1980, Cairo) confronts the authorship of historical narratives from a non-western standpoint, raising questions over colonial influences as well as pointing to the role of women (or absence thereof) within them. Her work "The Earth is an Imperfect Ellipsoid" challenges this by overlaying the writing of the Arab-Andalusian geographer Al-Bakri to current geo-political borders.

Jakob Gautel (* 1965, Karlsruhe) by displaying a series of photographs, drawings and archival documents explores his very personal relation to the Bauhaus, as both his grandparents were students there. This brings him to question the relation between memory, history, transmission, decay and transformation through a mixed media installation.

Olaf Holzapfel (* 1967, Dresden) presents a series of three of his hay pictures within a purposely designed wooden support structure (2018-19) and a digital print (2008) through which he questions a mechanic element in architecture juxtaposing to it a naturally present code within the material itself. This position places his work only at first glance in antithesis with the rational principles of Bauhaus architecture actually reconnecting with the experimental elements the school was exploring.

Reuven Israel (* 1978, Jerusalem) presents three sculptures from the series "As Above, So Below" (2016-17) in which the spiritual element is developed through the delicate balance in the composition of objects that relay to the viewer a sense of connection between heavens and earth also through the use of symbolically charged shapes. The forth work, “Untitled Folding Object  27A” is a shapeshifting object which directly engages with the linear suggested by the title of the exhibition.

Kostis Velonis (* 1968, lives and works in Athens) uses the work of Bauhaus artist Alma Buscher to develop a new work specifically for the spaces of the Kunsthalle in which the iconic geometrical shapes and colours of the Bauhaus are modified reflecting on the potentiality implied in its form.

Jan Tichy (* 1974 in Prague, lives and works in Chicago) displays three sets of historical Bauhaus palmprints, one created during workshops in Chicago, Modena and Hradec Kralove with local art students and faculty. The site-specific installation includes a sand drawing based on a horoscope chart found together with the prints in Moholy-Nagy archives and responding to the architecture of the former Dominican Church and monastery.

 

The exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Moholy-Nagy Foundation, Inc., Hattula Moholy-Nagy and Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture and supported by the Friends of the Kunsthalle Osnabrück, which are funded by the Foundation of Sparkasse Osnabrück.


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49074 Osnabrück