Alice Lex-Nerlinger’s Work “Training (Rowers)”

A silver gelatin print of the 1930 tissue paper montage made by Alice Lex-Nerlinger (1893-1975) at the exhibition “Bauhaus and Photography, On Neues Sehen in Contemporary Art”. Photo credit: Bauhaus and Photography, Museum für Fotografie, 2019 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek August Haverkamp.

22 May 2019

By Hélène Rémond

Hélène Rémond makes a discovery at the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin.

You would not make a connection between rowing and the art school Bauhaus right away, would you?

I want to share a discovery I made at the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin where the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus is celebrated. The idea of the exhibition on Bauhaus and photography is to juxtapose the photographic avant-garde of the 1930s and contemporary art to show how the art and design movement is still influencing the evolution of the visual language of today’s aesthetic concepts.

“Bauhaus and Photography, On Neues Sehen in Contemporary Art”, installation view, Museum für Fotografie, 2019 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek August Haverkamp.

Alongside with the works of artists such as László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, there is a photogram of a tissue paper montage made by Alice Lex-Nerlinger (1893-1975) in 1930. Lex-Nerlinger was a German photomontage artist and painter. Her artistic-dialectic works tackle heroism versus the soldier’s death, snob and war cripple, lady and proletarian woman, man and machine, capital and labour, state and censor. She actually turned the photogram process to political ends.

As to the silver gelatin print (23×17 cm) entitled “Training (Ruderer)/Training (Rowers)”, the work captures well the repetitive geometric pattern formed by the rowers in their boat. Repeated faceless figures reappear in the form of anonymous factory workers in other photograms. Depictions of leisure then gave way to labor. Alice Lex-Nerlinger abandoned repetition and featured an iconic symbol of physical labour and the working class.

A blow-up of the print of Alice Lex-Nerlinger’s “Training (Ruderer)/Training (Rowers)” in the exhibition “Bauhaus and Photography, On Neues Sehen in Contemporary Art” at the Museum für Fotografie.

The exhibition “Bauhaus and Photography, On Neues Sehen in Contemporary Art” at the Museum für Fotografie is running through 25 August 2019.

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