Architectural visions and drawings by three visionaries of the early twentieth century are being presented together for the first time at the Berlinische Galerie: the exhibition “Modern Visionaries” is devoted to the brief but dramatic period between 1918 and 1923 – the end of World War I, the November Revolution and the formative years of the Weimar Republic.
Paul Scheerbart, Bruno Taut, Paul Goesch
April 15 – October 31, 2016
Alte Jakobstrasse 124-128, Berlin
Around 1914 the writer, poet and inventor Paul Scheerbart (1863-1915) inspired the young architect Bruno Taut (1880- 1938) to take up his ideas about building with colored glass. The building material glass was thought capable of helping to bring a harmonious society into existence – a utopia as clear as glass that extended out past the planets into outer space: “Light seeks to penetrate the whole cosmos and is alive in crystal,” wrote Scheerbart for Taut’s famous Glass Pavilion built in 1914 for the Werkbund Exhibition in Cologne.
“THAT IS ULTIMATELY WHAT WE WANT: UTOPIA!” – Walter Gropius 1919
The exhibition focuses on the visionary art of Paul Goesch (1885-1940). Even while still studying architecture in Berlin before the outbreak of World War I, the young artist turned to painting. He was one of the participants of that important forum for utopian architecture, the “Crystal Chain” correspondence initiated by Taut in 1919.
Goesch’s fragile mental state required numerous hospitalizations in psychiatric clinics and he was permanently institutionalized after 1921. In 1940 he fell victim to the so-called T4 Action, the Nazi program of forced euthanasia.
The exhibition unites around eighty of his colored gouaches from between 1919 and 1923 with selected drawings and texts by Paul Scheerbart, whose double talent as a writer and draftsman is likewise prominently represented by important examples in the collection of the Berlinische Galerie.
For Bruno Taut – the third member of this visionary triumvirate and a crucial figure for both Scheerbart and Goesch – we were able to draw on the collegial support of the Baukunstarchiv at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin to integrate loans of works by Bruno Taut and other members of the Crystal Chain such as Hermann Finsterlin, Wenzel Hablik and Hans Scharoun.
In addition, never before exhibited architectural visions by Paul Goesch were selected from the holdings of the Baukunstarchiv to supplement the motifs inspired by Christianity or Buddhism from the collection of the Berlinische Galerie.
Paul Goesch can be seen in these works as a visionary Expressionist without any salvational emotionalism whose ornamental structures and colorful, exotic pictorial worlds are marked by humor and an affirmation of life, despite the dangers they visualize.