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Life at the Bauhaus

The ‘House of Construction’ founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius was a laboratory of ideas, a school of arts and crafts bound to be remembered in the decades to come for its unique approach to a total art and as a symbol of the avant-garde Germany. It operated until 1933, when it was closed by the Nazi regime. But how was life at the Bauhaus? Which faces would you have seen? Photographers and former students T.Lux Feininger and Edmund Collein documented its life and activities. Here are some of the things you could have seen at one of the most famous arts schools in the world.

A Laboratory of Sound

LAK is an annual four-day festival in Copenhagen presenting Nordic experimental sound art. This year an old varnish factory in the area ‘Amager’ provided an authentic, urban and industrial exhibition space for multiple sound installations, performances and experimenting concerts. Experienced with music yet fairly unfamiliar with experimental sound art, our new contributor Nadja Loran visited LAK – Festival of Nordic Sound Art. Nadja has a BA in Communication and is currently doing a masters degree in visual culture with a focus on contemporary visual phenomena and imaging in a social, cultural and historical context. Here is a selection of artworks and artists that caught her attention.

‘Vibrant Disturbance II’ – installation by Christian Skjødt (DK)

‘Vibrant Disturbance II’. Photo by Nadja Loran

Christian Skjødt is an improviser and sound artist from Denmark. His installatory work often deals with the enlargement of unheard and hidden sounds, and creating responsive environments exploring translations of other physical phenomenons into sound. (words by LAK)

Vibrant Disturbance II uses light to produce sound. The sounds coming from the disassembled car speakers hanging from the ceiling in the industrial space, change due to the outside light and is even affected by the human shadows in the room. The installation produced an interesting contrast by juxtaposing a minimalistic aesthetic with repetitive electronic sounds connoting busy factories, flocks and swarms of animals, tin drums and standing ovations.

‘Magia universalis naturæ et artis’ – Installation by Ragnhild May (DK)

‘Magia Universalis Naturæ Et Artis’. Photo by Nadja Loran

Ragnhild May is a Danish sound artist who works with installation and performance. May’s artworks are based on materials she finds and the process of examining and reorganising them. Recognisable and everyday things like air mattress pumps, recorders and vacuum cleaner hoses are reconstructed in new compositions and their common sound aesthetic potentials explored. (words by LAK)

In LAK’s own words: “disassembled recorders, air pumps, bike tubes and bowls create something resembling traditional water whistles where the tone is affected by the water in the resonance chamber and vice versa” in this installation. From a distance the deep rusty container nicely framed the glass bowls, resembling large soap bubbles. Moving closer this was contradicted by a sudden loud ringing, which became unbearably and enervating if entering the container. Disregarding the state of my eardrums I found it alluring, though writing this my ears recall the discomfort.

Band Ane (DK)

Band Ane. Photo by Nadja Loran

The Danish electronica/laptop-producer Band Ane (Ane Østergaard) became, together with her “Mr. Laptop”, a fresh and long awaited feminine touch to the electronic music scene, when her debut ‘Anish Music’ came out in 2006. (words by LAK)

Finding inspiration in the sounds and hidden stories of her surroundings, Band Ane (Aka. Ane Østergaard) mixes electronica with drum’n’bass, quirky sounds and minimalistic vocal elements. This was my first live experience with the electronica/laptop-producer and her guitarist – I liked their soothing though nuanced and playful soundscape.

LAK also featured an outdoor sauna, storytelling ghettoblasters in the dark corners of the factory garden, and live radio production from a rolling wooden trolley.

Outdoor sauna. Photo by Nadja Loran

Storytelling ghettoblasters. Photo by Nadja Loran

Live radio production from a rolling wooden trolley. Photo by Nadja Loran

Check out LAK and the artists who were represented here.

Subversion of the images

Paul Nougé was a poet, a philosopher, a photographer, an activist and a friend of René Magritte, with whom he is portrayed in this picture (Nougé is the smiling guy on the right).

These pictures by Nougé are part of a series called “La subversion des images” (“Subversion of the images”) which were taken between 1929 and 1930. They look incredibly modern and so ahead of their time. Maybe the name Francesca Woodman rings a bell?

Paul Nougé, A New Way of Juggling, 1929

Paul Nougé (1895–1967)- Magnetic table, 1929-1930.

Paul Nougé, Coat suspended in space, c. 1929-1930

Paul Nouge, Birth of an Object, 1930

Paul Nougé, Les Voyantes

Paul Nougé, Le bras révélateur

Paul Nouge, Cils Coupes, 1929

Paul Nougé, Les Profondeurs du Sommeil

Paul Nougé, Les oiseaux vous poursuivent

Paul Nougé, Sans Titre, ca. 1930


My lovely friend, Natalia Podgorska just graduated from photography at London College of Communication, and I want to show you her final project, which I really like. It’s called ‘Storytellers’ and as she describes on her page it’s ‘an attempt to combine the act of performance and the post-performative body of art through the photographic medium.’

The project consists of a video piece and a series of photographs where the four storytellers, create, share and destroy a piece of reality  given to them, all at once.





For me, the photographs work really well together with the video as they become an extension of the story and expand it because we mix it with our memory of each person’s story and the aesthetic of the photographs. The photographs are highly sensual and the texture and colour of the food mixed with the dirty table possess an energy of something forbidden, like when your parents told you to stop playing with your food.

Check out Natalia’s other work here. I will also do an interview with her in the coming future.

Eileen Agar

Earlier this month I went to Tate Britain to see their ‘Library and Archive show and tell‘ with examples of the artist Eileen Agar‘s work and some of her love letters to and from fellow artist Paul Nash, with whom she had a passionate affair. I was very inspired by her thoughts and drawings. In particular by a snippet from her book ’A Look at My Life‘ which she wrote in collaboration with Andrew Lambirth in 1988, and where she describes her work method:

‘My own method is to put myself in a state of receptivity during the day. I sit about sometimes for a quarter of an hour or more, wondering what on earth I am doing, and then suddently I get an idea for something. Either it is the beginning of a title or just the germ of a visual image. Later on, if I am stuck with a half-finished painting, I might take a snooze and after that it comes together quite simply’ (p. 125)

Eileen Agar by Lucinda Douglas-Menzies / National Portrait Gallery, London

Two Lovers, 1931 by Eileen Agar

Family Trio, 1931 by Eileen Agar

The Reaper, 1938 by Eileen Agar