Der Mensch
January 04, 2020
University of Tennessee Knoxville (January 27-February 21, 2020).
Pigment prints

Pigment prints on unbound copy of “Man: Teaching Notes from the Bauhaus” by Oskar Schlemmer.
159 pages, offset, original edition from 1971.
7 x 9 in., 10 x 12 in. framed

Der Mensch

Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer’s costumes, drawings and writing often depicted and described human forms that were disciplined and, at times, replaced by abstract shapes and mechanical parts. Throughout his drawings and notes, anonymous men of European descent formed the basis for his idealized notion of human identity. Progressively, they, too, were subjected to overlays of rigid geometries and metricized proportions.

In Man (der Mensch), a book published posthumously after Schlemmer’s death, this substitution of the bodily with the geometric reveals itself as far more than a formal preoccupation, or a visual articulation of the effects of industry on the human body. Schlemmer was in search of a new theory of life. At the core of his obsession was a desire for social standardization, one which assumed erasure as a requisite technique for developing his norms and standards for human identity.

Using a system of overlaid pigment printing atop an unbound copy of Schlemmer’s book, this series of pigment prints explores the disciplining and cancellation of identity through the techniques of annulment, redaction, effacement and layering.