Gropius and Schlemmer

Peter Hulton suggested early on that the Bauhaus would be key to this project. At that time I didn’t know enough about it to realise how true that was. Here’s Gropius in 1923:

‘The stage work is intimately related to the work of architecture as an orchestral unit: both receive and give to one another reciprocally. Just as in a building all members surrender their own self-identity in favour of the higher, common, living reality of the total work, so a multitude of artistic problems come together in stage work according to this superordinate law to form a greater unity’ (cited and translated¬†in Blume 2008: 45 (original German on p. 44)).¬†

Schlemmer, a little later, suggests that the aims of the Bauhaus: ‘to seek the union of the artistic-ideal with the craftsmanlike-practical by thoroughly investigating the creative elements, and to understand in all its ramifications the essence of Der Bau, creative construction – have valid application to the field of the theater. For, like the concept of Bau itself, the stage is an orchestral complex which comes about only through the cooperation of many different forces. It is the union of the most heterogeneous assortment of creative elements. Not the least of its functions is to serve the metaphysical needs of man by constructing a world of illusion and by creating the transcendent on the basis of the rational’ (1961:81)

Torsten Blume (2008), ‘The Historic Bauhaus Stage – A Theatre of Space’ in Bauhaus. Theatre. Dessau.(Bauhaus. Buehne. Dessau.) ed. Torsten Blume and Burghard Duhm, trans. Abigail Prohaska, Berlin: jovis Verlag, pp.23-64.

Oskar Schlemmer (1961), ‘Theater’ in The Theatre of the Bauhaus ed. Walter Gropius, trans. Arthur S Weininger, Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 82-97.