For the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Bauhaus, The Athens School of Fine Arts and the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart are organising an international conference titled ‘Bauhaus in Greece’. The conference will take place in Athens from 30 May to 1 June 2019.
Bauhaus was the most important art school and the motor behind modernity in the 20th century. It was the result of converging historical conditions after the First World War. These conditions include the economic crises of European democracies, the search for alternative ways to satisfy collective needs, and the severing of historical ties under the radical pressure from artistic avant-garde movements. Beyond that, the foundation of Bauhaus was closely related with Germany’s specific post-war situation. The trauma of war played a significant role in this, as did the horror caused by the industrial-scale annihilation of millions of human lives, the feeling of national humiliation that came with losing the war, and the Reich’s economic, political and cultural collapse. Bauhaus as a cultural promise was, to an equal extent, linked to Germany’s hopefulness for the future resulting from the foundation of its first republic. They both came to an end under a common banner: the Nazis seizing power in 1933.
Bauhaus drew its ideas from the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Deutscher Wekbund. At first, Bauhaus aimed to bridge the gap between art and craftsmanship, and then to reconcile art with industry. Further, Bauhaus was about realising the idea of synthesis at various levels – synthesis as a cultural programme, synthesis as form, and synthesising the industrial production of objects for mass consumption on the one hand with the quality of authentic artistic achievement on the other. For this, collaboration between artists and architects became possible for the first time, and, straight after the end of the war, Bauhaus became the central point of reference for the artistic avant-garde and especially for the European modern movement. An important aim of its founder Walter Gropius was the school's international character, which he strove to achieve by employing teachers from all over Europe.
At that time, Greece was undergoing its own tragedy, caused by the catastrophe that had resulted from the Graeco-Turkish war in 1922, as well as by the collapse of the Great Idea. The catastrophe moved the country into a state of comprehensive self-inspection, which was aimed at clearing up questions of identity and the general direction of its national cultural production. This does not mean that, during the period before, Greek culture had shown itself to be particularly open and receptive towards the challenges coming from European avant-garde movements. The 1920s, however, played a crucial role in the shaping of Greece's national cultural physiognomy – with the teaching and work of Dimitris Pikionis, with Fotis Kontoglou, Spyros Papaloukas, Manolis Kalomoiris, Aggeliki Hatjimichali, and Aggelos Sikelianos, along with the Delphic Festival that he had initiated. It was only in the 1930s that the desire for an intensive exchange with European trends gained strength, with Nikos Hatjikyriakos-Gikas, Nikos Eggonopoulos, Andreas Empeirikos, Nikos Skalkotas, Nikos Mitsakis and Patroklos Karantinos as the main actors. From this came decisive impulses towards the country's cultural positioning, as well as the self-determination of its creativity in the context of an international dialogue, especially in the arts and in architecture.
The conference will comprise two general thematic areas:
1. Bauhaus's significance for and influence on the arts and architecture in Greece.
2. Bauhaus's influence on other countries in comparison and on art education.
Determining the co-ordinates of Bauhaus's reception in Greece in the interwar period will be the topic of the first thematic area. In this context, the effects of the Bauhaus experience on the work of Greek artists, architects and designers will be up for discussion. We welcome contributions that will sharpen our understanding of Greece's autochthonous production by investigating possible Bauhaus influences. We also invite contributions that will highlight the significance of international exchange and the presence of Greek artists and architects of that time on the international stage. This will be an endeavour to re-evaluate two things: first, the 'Greek contribution' to European interwar culture, and second, the significance of Bauhaus's heritage and myth for art and architecture in interwar Greece.
The international thematic area will draw attention to the reception of Bauhaus in other countries before and after the Second World War. Contributions will expand on the German Bauhaus experience (1919-1933) to give an understanding of events such as the 1938 Bauhaus exhibition at the MoMa in New York; Mendelsohn, Wijdeveld and Ozenfant's project to establish a Mediterranean academy; the foundation of Black Mountain College in North Carolina and New Bauhaus in Chicago; the 'Bauhaus' architecture in Tel Aviv; the foundation of the Ulm School of Design; and the idea of an Imaginary Bauhaus in the context of situationism.
The conference will be accompanied by publications and further events on Bauhaus culture, which will be announced in due course.
The conference is arranged in partnership with the Hellenic Institute of Architecture (EIA).
• General information: bauhaus2019.asfa.gr
- Friday 25 May 2018 - deadline to submit abstract
The languages of the conference are Greek and English.
Abstracts can be submitted in Greek or English.
Conference records will be published.
Participation is free of charge.
The attendance of the conference does not require prior registration.
Andreas Giacumacatos, Professor of Architecture at the Department of Theory and History of Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts, and Sokratis Georgiadis, Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Design History at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart oversee the scientific and organisational aspects of the conference and related events.