The Bauhaus stands for something new: in art, architecture, in design - for new beginnings and a critical view of society. What visions are there today - and what dangers for democracy?
Dessau-Roßlau (dpa/sa) - In the future, the Bauhaus in Dessau will deal even more with the existential issues of society. "We are concerned with fundamental questions such as how will we live sustainably in the future, how will we build, with what materials, on what energy basis, and above all: will we build new at all," said the director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Barbara Steiner. This is also a concern of the "New European Bauhaus" initiated by the EU in cooperation with research institutes, universities, colleges, municipalities and local people.
"At the Bauhaus Dessau itself, in addition to material issues, the area of cultural education is in the foreground. In the preservation of monuments, it is also important to be prototypical, especially when it comes to how monument protection and climate protection can be reconciled," said Steiner. "We want to give important impetus to society. That's what the 'old Bauhaus' did and that's what the 'new Bauhaus' is supposed to be about," she said. This requires people who look ahead, more visionaries.
Although simple answers are tempting, they would not help in view of the complexity of the social tasks, said the Dessau Bauhaus boss. She sees populism as a threat to democratic structures. "Everyone - from politicians to institutions, to each individual personally - is called upon not to give space to hatred and hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism," she said. "Here we are challenged as a community and society."
Total selfishness often hides behind the calls for freedom, she said. Tolerance towards the new, towards strangers, is becoming worryingly less. Steiner, who holds a doctorate in art history, has been director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation for a year. This is dedicated to maintaining, researching and updating the legacy of the former design school, and is also dedicated to current social issues in the areas of cultural education, design and architecture.
Founded in Weimar in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969), the Bauhaus moved to Dessau for political reasons. In the city it experienced its heyday, with revolutionary innovations in building, in designs for living and new models in the socio-cultural interaction of the people. When the National Socialists seized power, the Bauhaus moved again to Berlin, where it was closed in 1933 under pressure from the Nazis. Bauhaus artists emigrated primarily to Israel and the USA. Today, Bauhaus buildings like those in Dessau are part of the Unesco World Heritage.