Theory — Nov 8, 2019

Symposium with the presentation of works by students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague, in the Audi Hall of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Museum entrance + € 3,-
Teijin Auditorium
Nov 8, 2019, 7 pm until 9.30 pm
Main language

It is now one hundred years since the Bauhaus, the renowned school for visual artists, craftsmen, and architects (1919–1932), was established by German architect Walter Gropius in Weimar. Following numerous historical presentations on the Bauhaus, the question to be posed here is how relevant the ideals and fundaments of the Bauhaus are for today’s society. Does the pursuit of a Gesamtkunstwerk (the synthesis of all art disciplines) still have topical value? What is signified nowadays by the principle of the Bauhaus education, the creativity in dealing with materials, the balance between the traditional and the industrial, and the design of functional objects for our living environment? Just as it did a century ago, society today faces many challenges. But unlike then, “development” is no longer uncritically associated with “growth.” Confronted with the downside of the progress myth, a critical reassessment of our sociocultural and economic values is necessary.

In collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, a number of students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and the Royal Academy of Visual Arts (KABK) in The Hague investigated possibilities for translating the notions of the Bauhaus in the present. The outcome of this research, new artworks created by the students, will be on display from 8–10 November 2019 in the Audi Galleryof the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

During this evening program, a reflection on the current state of art education and the role of art and design in society will take place through short presentations and discussions. These dialogues will be interspersed with themed performances inspired by the students. The unique collaboration between both academies and the Stedelijk Museum will also be given consideration.

After the seminar there will be an opportunity to view the students’ work in the Audi Hall, followed by concluding drinks in the museum café, TEN, with music provided by students from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

©Dora Lionstone.


5.00 - 7.00 PM
Chance to view the student presentations in the Audi Gallery and Studio A


7.00 PM
Welcome by Beatrice von Bormann, curator at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
'Rethinking Bauhaus' – a project by the Royal Academy of Visual Arts (KABK) and the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 
Presentation by Claire Wymer (Gerrit Rietveld Academy) and Peter Pflüger (KABK)
'The Bauhaus then and now'
Esther Cleven, curator at the Bauhaus Archive, Berlin
Performance: Timoteo Carbone – 'A Lost Flock'
'Rethinking Bauhaus: Art Education Today, Making & Changing Society'
A discussion with Marjanne van Helvert, designer and teacher at the Rietveld Academie, and Alice Twemlow, design teacher/research professor at the KABK, as well as Muireann Nic An Bheatha, Kaja Hribšek and Hannah Mulqueen, students at the KABK* 
Performance: Muireann Nic An Bheatha – 'Bioplastics cooking workshop'
Performance: Peter Pflügler – A Series of Functional Movements
End of program
Opportunity to view the works by the students again
Bauhaus-style after-party in the museum café, TEN, with music provided by students from the Royal Conservatory, The Hague
10.00 PM
Museum closes
*During the discussion a PowerPoint presentation composed by Lucien Easton will be shown, with works by students from the KABK and the Rietveld, as well as by Bauhaus artists from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.


Esther Cleven holds a PhD as an art and design historian, and works as a curator at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin. She previously worked as a curator for applied art and design at the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, and in the Netherlands as a curator at the Graphic Design Museum in Breda and a special professor of modern typography and graphic design at the University of Amsterdam. In Breda and Weimar, Cleven was involved in planning the new museum buildings. She has published extensively, including on the topicality and history of design and graphic design, on museology, and on the history of art history.

Marjanne van Helvert is a textile designer, researcher, and writer. She obtained a master’s in Cultural Studies at Radboud University in Nijmegen in 2007, and a bachelor’s in Textile Design at the Rietveld Academie in 2013. Her dynamic focus in her research oscillates between design theory and practice. Her areas of research include the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in design, DIY practices, modernism and anti-modernism, and gender politics. (In 2014 she was nominated for the Simon Mari Pruys Prize for design criticism with her sustainable design manifesto “Dirty Design,” which was developed into a sustainable unisex clothing line in 2015. Her projects are a quest for the role of the idealistic contemporary designer.)

Alice Twemlow is a design critic, curator, and lector at the KABK. She received her PhD from the History of Design program at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art in London. Her field of interest includes the complex relationship between time and the environment within the subject of design. She is currently researching the material manifestations and meanings of design when it is transformed into waste.


With special thanks to José Coenjaarts, initiator of this project, Bert Taken, lecturer in philosophy at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam and Erik Blits, lecturer in architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague.

Please note that by attending the program you could potentially be filmed and photographed for archival, commercial and/or journalistic purposes. If you do not wish to be filmed or photographed, please contact our staff prior to the program. If you would like us to delete your images, please send an e-mail to