Yesterday I visited Nottingham Contemporary to have a look at the latest exhibition ‘Still Undead: Popular Culture in Britain Beyond the Bauhaus.’ The exhibition “explores how Bauhaus ideas and teaching lived on in Britain, via pop culture and art schools.”
If we ever need to reflect on how we have come to live in the world that we do today, then exhibitions like this are essential. Tracing the influence of the Bauhaus aesthetic in design, architecture, fashion, and the built world around us, this exhibition gives a glimpse of how the assorted cultural stylisations of today have common roots and origins in this now distant but still ever present creative movement.
The sleek lines, the functionalism, the minimal use of resources, the lack of aesthetic distraction, and the focus on simplicity are present in the most mundane images and objects, though what was surprising was how colourful and energetic it could be.
We’ve adopted a culture of conformity from overload, in which our senses are bombarded with signs and images continuously. The modern shopping centre, for example, is crowded, noisy, visually confusing and disruptive. Perhaps a return to some modernist aesthetic principles will help us to clear way some of the jumble and distraction in our lives, in the way that minimalists advocate for us.
There is lot to see and think about in this exhibition, some of which feels normal and day-to-day for me, such as the Kraftwerk or Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album covers, which I have lived with as part of the bricolage of my life for thirty years. Seeing them in this context renews my perspective and understanding of what they were influenced by and why they had an impact on me in the first place.
The exhibition runs until 12th January 2020.