2019/01 7. CULTURAL CUT – Bauhaus Imaginista: Framing Renshichirō Kawakita’s Transcultural Legacy

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Create Date1.5.2019

The Bauhaus was established at a time of geopolitical crises and upheaval. With the First World War, the ‘barbaric’ found its way into the centre of supposed civilisation. The self-destruction of Europe also delegitimised its institutions [and] the technological and industrial revolution confronted society with fun- damental transformations.

With these words, The Bauhaus Imaginista exhibition that opened in March in Berlin thrusts the visitor immediately into the tumultuous international political context in which the Bauhaus was created, flourished, stumbled – and changed the world. The exhibition takes place at the Haus der Kulteren der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World), that iconic oyster-shell close to the Reichstag and the seat of the German Chancellor – worth a visit in itself – but what lies within is a truly exceptional show. A visually stunning, socially reflexive and politically astute window on the past – and the future. The beautifully minimal, yet imaginative (of course) visitor guide plunges you straight into the world in which the Bauhaus was made and which it sought to make new. Explicitly drawing parallels between then and now, the curators also emphasise that “today [...] the question remains of how to reimagine the rela- tionship between the arts and society.”

And so, celebrating not only the opening of this major exhibition, but also 100 years of the Bauhaus itself, New Perspectives is delighted to present and excerpt from the exhibition catalogue. In its production and authorship as well as its subject matter, this excerpt, like the book as a whole, again highlights the inherently inter- national character of the most influential design movement of the last century. It is thus with great pride that I present Helena Čapková’s ‘Framing Renshichirō Kawakita’s Transcultural Legacy and His Pedagogy’ as our latest ‘Cultural Cut’. Influenced by the Bauhaus, Kawakita founded the ‘Research Institute for Life Design’ in Japan in 1931, which in turn begat the ‘School of New Architecture and Design’. This Cultural Cut has its own story to tell but, in so doing, it also provides an opening to corresponding with, learning from, moving away and otherwise engaging the very-much-alive struggles of the Bauhaus now, as well as then, here as well as there. Get to Berlin if you can.