Balsa wood | rice paper | sound | 2019

Play becomes celebration: celebration becomes work: work becomes play.

[‘our play, our party, our work’ was the title given by Johannes Itten to his lecture, excerpt from a letter to Anna Höllering recounting his lecture to his students, Weimar, 15 December 1919]

The Bauhaus kite festival, held in autumn, was one among many playful festivities that gave an outlet to Bauhaus masters and students to demonstrate their creative ideas. Masters such as Johannes Itten, Oskar Schlemmer, and Paul Klee valued play as essential for artistic creativity.

My take on the idea of play is a fragile kite-like structure made of balsa wood and rice paper. It combines Josef Albers' paper folding techniques with Paul Klee’s poster for a kite fest and Itten’s playful ideas. The paper pattern has a labyrinthian motif and resonates with Weininger’s drawings. The piece is titled Daedalus. Daedalus was skilled in the mechanic arts. He is said to have invented carpentry. Daedalus created the labyrinth in Crete and subsequently escaped from the island on a self-made pair of wings. He was a controversial figure, much like the multiple ways of reading the Bauhaus itself. Daedalus was not spared from the inflated ego of the artist. He attempted to kill his nephew Perdix, envious of his ingenuity, by pushing him off the Acropolis. However, Athena saved the boy by turning him into a perdix (partridge). I see a connection between Bauhaus and Antiquity, as the ideas of Bauhaus can be traced back to Aristotle’s notion of techné – in which there was no differentiation between the practice of art and science.

The Bauhaus Studio : Secondary Sources | ArtLab (Cambridge) May 2 - May 10, 2019.