Friday, 16 November 2012

The Bauhaus Chess Set

Fine Art is undoubtedly the worst of subject areas. Nobody even teaching it seems to know what it is. I've never heard a single decent definition, all I hear is dire tales of students stuffing models of whales with sponges or making earrings of the Royal (sic) family. HOWEVER, the chaos of idiocy that the practise of so called fine art demands does appear in a historical context to reap many dialectically rational rewards. Amidst the undoubted madhouse of the Bauhaus, where transcendental pseuds ran the show, even the canteen, even demanding prayer and robes and the eating of garlic mush (Alma Mahler, married briefly to Gropius, most beautiful etc, said the only distinctive thing about the Bauhaus was the smell of garlic) we get quite excellent things like the Bauhaus Chess Set, a thing of clear beauty.
I showed it to my students today as just about the best thing that could have come out of my imaginary construction of what the Bauhaus must have been. I explained the rationalism of each piece representing how each piece moved as a thankful pinnacle of achievement. I even enjoyed the certain ambiguity between king and queen pieces, thinking perhaps the Bauhaus couldn't do kings or queens, but when I shovelled forward this discussion in to post-grad students in the afternoon, they resoundedly said it was right that the queen was spherical, as in moving everywhere, and when I think about it, they were quite right, the king is definitely more stilted in metaphorical movement (but only just- it's still an argument waiting to be had..... maybe exposing the difficulties of form following function.....and so on ......oh dear)
Please buy me one for Christmas.

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