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International scholarly conference “Bauhaus in the Life and Work of Selman Selmanagić”

The international research and exhibition project Bauhaus - Networking Ideas and Practice (BAUNET) continues with an international scholarly conference on “Bauhaus in the Life and Work of Selman Selmanagić,” which will take place on October 23, 2014 in Sarajevo, at the Academy of Fine Arts.

The main aim of the BAUNET project is to explore and present the activities and interrelations of various artists from South-Eastern Europe who were trained at the international school of architecture, design, and visual arts Bauhaus, including their impact on the art practice of the region during the 1950s and the legacy of avantgarde movements. The project has been sponsored by the EU funding programme “Culture 2007-2013” and involves four cultural institutions from four European countries: Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (Croatia), Universalmuseum Joanneum in Graz (Austria), Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), and Loka Museum in Škofja Loka (Slovenija).

Architect Selman Selmanagić (b. 1905 in Srebrenica – d. 1986 in Berlin) was the only student from Bosnia and Herzegovina who graduated at the Department of Architecture, Bauhaus in Dessau (1932). The life story of Selman Selmanagić embodies the Bauhaus ideal of “living-in-time”: a young man from a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, without any knowledge of German and no financial support, only a completed training in carpentry, arrived early in the 20th century to an unfamiliar city and managed to graduate at the leading art school of the European avantgarde. In the process, he also became a passionate antifascist and freedom fighter, and then also one of the most distinguished persons in the field of architecture and design in the GDR, as well as an esteemed professor, known for his engaged approach to architecture, art, and the social reality.

In the recent years, with the 100th anniversary of its foundation approaching, the most influential art school of the 20th century has launched a series of important exhibition projects throughout the world. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of the political map of contemporary Europe, the legacy of Bauhaus in terms of its educational artistic, and intellectual values has been reassessed, which has also brought the artistic settings of South-Eastern Europe into the focus of attention, as its students have likewise contributed to the school’s multicultural and open profile, with its basic pedagogical values shaped precisely in an encounter between various cultural and intellectual traditions. The issue of Bauhaus’ legacy is very much alive in its source localities: in Germany, it has become topical particularly after the reunification, whereby special attention was paid to the reception of Bauhaus in the GDR. All this has shed new light on the place and role of Selman Selmanagić in the European modern and contemporary architecture, opening up various possibilities for its reassessment in a wider thematic context. In 2014, Sarajevo has also been strongly involved in the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, with a considerable number of scholarly conferences, round tables, and exhibitions.

The conference dedicated to Selman Selmanagić and Bauhaus approaches these events from a somewhat different angle. Bauhaus was also linked to WWI, as it evolved, as its founder Walter Gropius (1883-1969) remarked in a letter from 1963, from a “blend of profound depression resulting from the lost war with its breakdown of intellectual and economic life, and the ardent hope and desire to build something new from these ruins.” This new vision, filled with optimism and future projections, which formed the basis for Bauhaus, has left a deep impact on its present-day image, as it has been remembered as something more than just a school. All these issues will be discussed and presented at the first international scholarly conference on Selman Selmanagić in Sarajevo, as well as at the exhibition planned for 2015 as a part of the BAUNET project, likewise taking place in Sarajevo. Our aim is to emphasize the particular significance of the pedagogical opus of Selman Selmanagić and will therefore include workshops organized by the students of design and architecture at the University of Sarajevo, which will reflect on the legacy and challenges of Bauhaus in our present age through a series of art projects and presentations.

Participants: Aida Abadžić Hodžić (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sarajevo), Leonie Baumann (Kunsthochschule, Berlin-Weißensee), Andrea Contursi (Cologne), Fehim Hadžimuhamedović (Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo), Antonija Mlikota (Department of Art History, University of Zadar), Vesna Meštrić (Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb), Peter Peer (Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz), Steffen Schuhmann (Kunsthochschule, Berlin-Weißensee), Barbara Sterle Vurnik (Loka Museum, Škofja Loka), Karin Šerman (Faculty of Architecture, Zagreb), Jadranka Vinterhalter (Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb)

Concept: Aida Abadžić Hodžić, coordinator of the BAUNET project for Bosnia and Herzegovina

For additional information, please contact: Jasmina Gavrankapetanović Redžić, Academy of Fine Arts, Sarajevo, Obala Maka Dizdara 3, 71000 Sarajevo, Tel: + 387 33 210 369 Email: j.gavrankapetanovic@alu.unsa.ba

Partners: Goethe-Institut in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Regional Austrian Department of Scholarly and Cultural Cooperation (Sarajevo), and Bosnian Institute of Adil Zulfikarpašić Foundation

The conference has also been sponsored by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports – Foundation for Music, Performance, and Visual Arts, Allianz Kulturstiftung, and BH Post


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