Happy Birthday, Oskar Schlemmer!

“The history of the theater is the history of the transformation of the shape of the human being.”—”Human and Art Figure” (1925). 

Today is the birthday of Oskar Schlemmer (1888–1943), one of the doyens of the Bauhaus and perhaps its most seminal theatrical exponent. Merging the threads of pantomimic, heightened expression and mechanized movement and rhythm, Schlemmer’s designs and productions provided one of the many modernist answers to the (in)famous concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, the “unified” work of art, as (in)famously espoused in Wagnerian aesthetics. In keeping with this schematized approach to theatre, Schlemmer provided the above diagram of “entertainments” in the seminal 1925 anthology Die Bühne im Bauhaus, translated in English in 1961 by Arthur S. Wensinger as The Theater of the Bauhaus. I always find it fascinating. Where does your “theatre” fit in?

Author: Ryan M. Prendergast

Ph.D. Candidate @ the University of Illinois. Theater, opera, music, media, art, history, detritus. I smile, of course, and go on drinking tea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: