bau1haus

Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje

05. – 21. 11. 2019

In the framework of the Grand Tour of Modernism on the occasion of the centenary of the Weimar Bauhaus, the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje  in cooperation with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Skopje, presents 50 Architectural photographs by the Berlin photographer Jean Molitor from Germany and the world showing architecture illuminating modernity in all its various facets.

Jean Molitor has been traveling the world for ten years now, inspired by the vision of creating a worldwide photo archive of Modernist buildings, since 2016 scientifically supported by the architectural historian Kaija Voss. In the project “bau1haus” Molitor has made his goal to document the worldwide influence of the Bauhaus on the development of modern architecture. He wants to show global connections and the cosmopolitan exchange of modern architecture.

From Weimar, where the legendary Bauhaus art school was founded in 1919, all over Europe to Africa, America and Asia, the research area extends. The photo exhibition goes to places where people have lived for decades with their architectural treasures, but perhaps are not always aware of it. Almost everywhere there are surprising traces of modernism: between Berlin and Kabul, Stuttgart and Tel Aviv, St. Petersburg and Havana, in Guatemala or in Bukavu in the Congo there are always glittering pieces of straightforward architecture.

The exhibition approaches in various complexes the whole range of modern construction. The focus is not on architecture icons such as the Dessau Masters, but above all buildings that document the international zeitgeist in its everyday life, including housing developments, cinemas, schools, settlements, theaters, villas, hospitals, petrol stations and industrial buildings. They also reflect the urgent issues of the first half of the twentieth century: new mobility, social housing, urban hygiene, medical care and the demand for education and recreation.

In high-quality black-and-white photographs, cleared of all disturbing influences, Molitor concentrates on a sober look at the aesthetics of architecture. Triggered by a slightly elevated position, the buildings seem to hover almost timelessly with their clean lines, curved facades and glass corners.

 

Jean Molitor

Born on August 23, 1960 in Berlin.

His professional passion took him from Greenland to Russia, the African continent, Asia and even far off South America. He made several documentary films for German television.

At the age of 15, Jean received his first public recognition for a successful photo in the “Young Photographers” working group. Later followed a professional training for photographers and camera assistants. Building on this a study of artistic photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig.

Since graduating in 1993, Jean Molitor has worked as a freelance photographer worldwide for renowned companies and institutions. During this time, he worked primarily in the field of reportage for print media and television productions, is a picture author of several book publications and was involved in numerous international social non-profit projects (Belarus, Ukraine, Cuba, Central Africa, Afghanistan, Kenya, Niger).

After longer work stays in South America and China, Jean Molitor has increasingly devoted himself to architectural photography since 2009. Today he is also considered an ambassador of the so-called “Leipzig School” and developed his own style from this artistic environment.

His objects and inspirations are sought after by the Berlin cosmopolitan all over the world. Personal exhibitions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America (2007-2019) speak of a cross-cultural orientation of his creative work.

 

Modernism and the influences of Bauhaus in the architecture in Macedonia

Thе selection of photographs that point out to several important buildings extracted from the Skopje city fabric is a small addition to the exhibition display of the Berlin photographer Jean Molitor. It presents just few of the buildings that witness how Skopje has absorbed the aesthetics of the early European avant-garde styles, the Modernism, the International Style and everything that Molitor very broadly labels as the Bauhaus, mainly referring to the new functionality, the newly established perfect aesthetics and the new method of thinking and creating architecture.

This architecture has been created in Skopje on several occasions. It emerged, modest in scale but with high architectural relevance in the period between the two world wars (1918-1941). Concurrent with the buildings that still had characteristics of the Academism and its local variants, the works of Ibler and Zloković boldly introduced the aesthetic of the European avant-garde in Skopje. The post-war period (1945-1963) already had a broad modernization character that added a new and extensive architectural layer to the city, which united the pre-war experiences with the newly acquired knowledge. Almost without exception, the aesthetics of simple, white volumes and large glazed planes dominate in the works of Levi, Rankovikj, Brezoski, Petrichikj and others. This manner of architectural expression continues during the period of the post-earthquake renewal of Skopje (1963-1980s), this time as just one of the multitude of possible architectural languages (structuralism, metabolism, brutalism etc.).