The Tale of an Architect and his Bicycle: Marcel Breuer and the invention of tubular steel furniture

April 19, 2023
October 14, 2023

The Hungarian architect and designer Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) is considered one ofthe most important figures among students and teachers of the Bauhaus. Shortly after graduating with honors, he was invited by the founder of the institution, Walter Gropius, to return to the school as head of the carpentry workshop. Up on his arrival to Dessau, Breuer discovered that many of his friends had begun to ride bicycles to get around the city, and he soon purchased a bike for himself as well. But Breuer’s bicycle turned out to be much more than a means of transportation, inspiring him also as a designer: The tubular steel structure that made up the frame of his bike, he thought, was not only strong and flexible, but also light in weight and could be perfect as the basis for furniture. He then contacted the bicycle company Adler, suggesting that they collaborate with him on the creation of a new series of furniture using tubular steel. Adler’s representatives refused, but Breuer was determined to bring his vision to life. He then ordered cut and bent steel pipes directly from the iron factory that was Adler’s main supplier and, with the help of a local plumber, assembled the first tubular steel chair in his studio, naming it ‘B3’ - the result of his third attempted sketch.


Further variations followed suit, until finally Breuer was happy with the results,nicknaming his B3 design ‘Wassily Chair’ to pay homage to his friend and instructor at the school, Wassily Kandinsky. Others around him began to call it “the club chair”, since Gropius placed the prototype in the school's lecturers’ club. Success followed, and Breuer expanded the range of furniture he created from the steel pipes to include theater seats, folding chairs, various tables,and stools. Today, tubular steel furniture is common and familiar to many. It can be found in private homes, commercial establishments, and public institutions, with models ranging from rare and valuable items to more affordable reproductions promoted by large manufacturers – much like a bicycle.


Around the Corner: 7 Photographs by Günther Förg and 1 by Helmut Newton

October 24, 2022
March 31, 2023

As part of its programme of responses by international contemporary artists to its collection, the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv, is pleased to present a display of photographs by two unexpected observers of Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus heritage: Günther Förg (1952-2013) and Helmut Newton (1920-2004). At the core of the presentation are seven photographs taken by Förg in 2001 during a visit to Israel, in which the artist captures the Foundation’s building’s exterior in his typically dramatic photography style which is characterised by angular perspectives and the absence of human presence. Positioned in dialogue with Förg’s series, is a single photograph by Newton from 1992, in which a modernist Tel Aviv apartment building is pictured at night-time along with its residences and the improvised additions and changes that transformed the building’s original design. Newton’s image of lived environment is thus contracted with Förg’s idealised vision of Bauhaus as a pure expression of forms that follow function.

The exhibition Around the Corner: 7 Photographs by Günther Förg and 1 by Helmut Newton is organised with the generous support of Christie's

Irma Blank: Blank

July 23, 2020
October 10, 2020

The Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv  and the CCA – Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv, are pleased to announce a solo exhibition by German-born Italian artist Irma Blank, her first solo presentation in Israel.

The work of Irma Blank (*1934, Celle, Germany; lives and works in Milan) associates writing and drawing in a unique manner, positioning her practice in a place that seems independent from any movement in art history. While the work maintains this distinctive position, it nonetheless does share elements with the history of asemantic writing, Conceptual Art and visual poetry. Blank’s body of work formulates a profound reflection about existence through the paradox of a text without words and a language that is truly personal. Indeed, while one might consider Blank’s art as visual poetry, a closer examination unravels it as a solitary quest, giving rise to a node where she posits art as life, writing as breathing, doing as pausing.  

This project is conceived as an unprecedented collaboration between seven institutions and encapsulated by a comprehensive catalogue. The presentation in Tel Aviv, showcased at the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv, at the CCA Tel Aviv, and in the city's public space, generates a format unlike that of the “traveling exhibition”; in fact, the reformulation of such notion implies the adaptation of Blank’s oeuvres to different contexts. Furthermore, the ambitious goal behind such a tentacular project is to unfold the artist’s cohesive practice, which is conceived through series across several years with media such as drawing, painting, bookmaking, installation, sound, and actions.

The presentation in Tel Aviv focuses on the role played by immateriality, ephemerality and site-specificity in Blank’s modus operandi. Guided by conceptual and aesthetic choices, the exhibition features a selection of works from different series. It includes works on paper, an installation, several artist books, the reenactment of a historical action, a live performance and a sound piece. While at CCA Tel Aviv, spectators will be able to experience works conceived through different media in a neutral space, at the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv, visitors will have the unique opportunity to engage with Blank’s works on paper and books in juxtaposition with the Foundation’s permanent display of Bauhaus design prototypes and artifacts.

The exhibition is curated by Johana Carrier and Joana P.R. Neves and is presented at CCA Tel Aviv, the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv and in the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in English, edited by the curators, published by Koenig Books on the occasion of Blank’s seven exhibitions at Culturgest, Lisboa; MAMCO, Genève; CAPC, Bordeaux; ICA Milano; Museo Villa Dei Cedri, Bellinzona; and Bombas Gens Centre d’Art, Valencia.

The presentation in Tel Aviv, managed by Nicola Trezzi, Director and Curator, and Bar Goren, Assistant Curator, CCA Tel Aviv, is accompanied by a catalogue in Hebrew, Arabic and English and is supported by Luxembourg & Dayan, New York / London; ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), Stuttgart; Invitro; P420, Bologna; Daniel Milman; and Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Tel Aviv.