The Bauhaus is regarded as one of the cradles of Modern art, architecture industrial design, theatre and applied arts. The school established by Walter Gropius and led by him until 1928 provided students with diverse and practice-oriented training free from academic constraints. It had more than 30 Hungarian students, including Weininger, and prominent Hungarian artists such as Marcell Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy were among its international teaching staff.

Weininger was a painter, graphic artist, illustrator, musician, architect and furniture-, stage set- and costume-designer. He was born in the south of Baranya County into a family of Hungarian, German and Yugoslav ethnicity. He attended the Cistercian secondary school in Pécs in 1913, where a classmate, Ferenc Martyn, introduced him to József Rippl-Rónai, who – as attested to by the paintings displayed at the exhibition – exerted a major influence on Weininger with the pictures of his so-called "corn period".

After studying law in Pécs for a year, following the example of a friend, Farkas Molnár, Weininger pursued architectural studies at the Technical University of Budapest in 1918-1919. He worked in Pécs in 1920-1921, while attending an evening course of drawing nudes and joined in the activities of the Modern Circle of Artists in Pécs.

Together with his fellow painters, Farkas Molnár, Henrik Stefán and Hugó Johan, he was accepted at the Bauhaus in Weimar in October 1921. After completing the foundation course of the school in 1921-1922, Weininger enrolled in the Mural Painting Workshop, led at the time by Wassily Kandinsky and Carl Schlemmer.

Influenced by the Dutch Theo van Doesburg, Weininger became captivated by a utopian aesthetic composed with pure colours and simple geometric forms. In early 1923 he designed stage sets and costumes in Hamburg, while also participating in performances as a compére, an actor and a musician.

It was here that he began to develop the concept of the Mechanical Stage Revue, in which he envisioned a stage populated with moving abstract forms. He made numerous sketches that he later further improved, and eventually arrived at a moving geometrical and abstract scenery created by moving various elements forward, backward, up and down, while rhythmically moving the sides, the ceiling and the floor of the stage.

Abstract stage productions based on Weininger's ideas were only realised at the end of the artist's life. Gallery visitors will be able to see the video of the debut performance, recorded at the Kassel documenta of 1986, for the first time in Hungary at this exhibition.

Weininger returned to the Bauhaus in mid-1923, and in 1924 he founded the Bauhaus Band. From 1925, already an employee of the Bauhaus school, by then relocated from Weimar to Dessau, he was in charge of communication and the Stage Workshop. The German political situation of the late 1930s forced him to first move to the Netherlands and then to Canada, and from 1985 he lived in the United States, where he died in New York in 1986.

The start of Weininger's career is presented at the exhibition through some works by his fellow Bauhaus artists from Pécs – Farkas Molnár, Henrik Stefán and Johan Hugó – that have not been displayed together in Budapest before now; a work each by Alfréd Forbát and Sándor Bortnyik, and two by László Moholy-Nagy also document Weininger's connection with the Hungarian artists of the Bauhaus.

The focal point of the exhibition is one of Weininger's most compelling projects, the Mechanical Stage Revue, anticipating today's digital visual world. The gallery's installation is built around this concept and has a curiosity at its centre: the film footage of the performance from the 1980s.

Bauhaus 100. Abstract Revue – Selected works from the legacy of Andor Weininger
Hungarian National Gallery
Castle District, Budapest
Tuesdays-Sundays 10am-6pm
Until 28 July 2019

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