Updated: May 3, 2020
Last year’s Bauhaus centenary celebrations saw a number of imaginative tributes to the design movement, but Vic Reeves’ re-enactment of the Bauhaus School in a series of challenges for six deadpan Central St Martins art students is truly a cut above the rest.
The Bauhaus ‘teachers’, ranging from sculptor David Batchelor to furniture designer Kate Butler and fashion designer Holly Fulton, brief the students before they complete challenges in a range of mediums from photography (without cameras), to costume design with the allocated theme of simply ‘metal’.
After a busy week of challenges, the participants throw a Bauhaus costume party to show off their metallic costumes and set design to fellow students. They serve glittery cupcakes (nut-free and vegan of course, we are in the 21st century despite appearances) and perform a dance choreographed according to the Bauhaus rules: ‘in pairs but without touching’ and ‘leaping and wild stamping of feet are absolutely essential’.
It’s strangely… heart-warming to see the students’ cool frowns melt away as they giddily dart around in their tinfoil hats. There’s definitely something magical about the Bauhaus way of teaching, perhaps it explains why the students stayed loyal through hardship, repeatedly rebuilding the school after being pushed first out of Weimar, then Dessau, by right-wing philistines.
Bauhaus parties were an opportunity for the artists to create completely original costumes. In his essay ‘Life at Bauhaus’ (1925), architect Farkas Molnár describes the surreal scenes: “Kandinsky prefers to appear decked out as an antenna… Feininger as two right triangles… Gropius as Le Corbusier… Klee as the song of the blue tree. A rather grotesque menagerie…” For a taste of the Bauhaus school with a contemporary twist, check out the programme on iPlayer.