The desire to be creative in today’s society has evolved into a veritable “creativity imperative” (Reckwitz 2012). The deep-seated belief in human creativity as the ultimate cultural and economic resource has led companies and public institutions everywhere to look into ways to facilitate or even enhance creativity and innovation. By installing flexible and preferably inspiring creative spaces, innovation workshops and future laboratories, these organisations have taken steps to playfully generate ideas in a systematically optimised fashion.
The exhibition “BAU [ SPIEL ] HAUS” makes the argument that the significant driver behind many of these creative spaces and methods worldwide was the playful culture of the Bauhaus. Today the Bauhaus is unsurpassed for its modern notions on education and production, and ultimately for envisioning a new form of coexistence. A productive and certainly innovative element of Bauhaus instruction was its playful approach to the artistic process. Playing as an artistic strategy remains essential for meeting our deeply anchored need for creative expression.
The Bauhaus school used our innate inclination to play as a motor for development and design. Even such Bauhaus masters as Walter Gropius and Johannes Itten recognised the far-reaching social and design-related potential of playing which the Bauhaus student Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, for example, presented in her polyfunctional playroom. The extensive exhibition “BAU [ PLAY ] HAUS” explores this Bauhaus-inspired, modern notion of tying game concepts and play rooms into design development. The exhibition highlights the precursors which led to this innovation, shows how it has developed over time and what trends we can look forward to in the future. It contrasts progressive teaching methods of the 19th century with contemporary theories on education and compares Friedrich Fröbel’s toy gifts with LEGO architecture and the creative laboratories of Silicon Valley. The exhibition features more than 100 works produced over 100 years, from historical positions to recent contemporary artworks.
Artistic directors / Curators: Robert Eikmeyer, Thomas Hensel, Eva Kraus
Curators: Thomas Hensel and Robert Eikmeyer with conceptual assistance from Olaf Nicolai and Liam Gillick
Works by: Friedrich Fröbel, Maria Montessori, Gustav and Otto Lilienthal, Lyonel Feininger, Hermann Finsterlin, Johannes Itten, Oscar Schlemmer, Anni Albers, Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, Georg Weidenbacher, Max Bill, Hans Gugelot, Hans Brockhage, Renate Müller, Laurie Simmons, Liam Gillick, Olaf Nicolai, Yto Barrada, Goshka Macuga and Eva Grubinger.