What is often perceived to be informed by irrationality, i.e. the movement from 1919-1933 known as Bauhaus, has never ceased to give impulses on all facets of our society, be it lofty artistic ones, the very foundation of pursuits on architectural territory, and decorative design.
Fusing form with function and aestheticism, the mainstream interpretation of the movement has been documented in a myriad of forms.
However, what Elizabeth Otto has started to explore is the unearthing of a perception of which was mainly one-side and as a movement that has a longstanding and deeper going engagement with the concealed and mystic, gender fluidity and other seemingly paradoxical streams.
Needless to say that this results in a mind-altering tour de force that not only expands one’s horizon but also introduces characters from all walks of life – be it from the realms of art, architecture or design – that so far have been eclipsed by the socially accepted, acclaimed and at times self-professed specialists.
What is interesting is the takeaway that without those “marginalized” constituents, one cannot help but think that what has widely entered the canon would have never evolved to the mainstream phenomenon it has eventually become.
Be it visually in the most opulent manner as well as via essays and elaborations, Otto skilfully sheds light on the overall queerness of a stream that is certainly not devoid of less lighter sides and the tangible impact extremist politics have had – from communism to Nazism.
A book that I would highly recommend to anyone remotely interested in nineteenth century art as it takes you on a well-orchestrated wild ride that is informed by the art historian Elizabeth Otto’s background as an author, art curator and artist.