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Re-staging Oskar Schlemmer

February 23 - April 20, 2019

This project re-stages Oskar Schlemmer’s seminal Triadic Ballet one century after its original debut at the Bauhaus. Schlemmer is a pivotal but often undersung Bauhaus artist whose work initiated new vision for the human figure in a rapidly modernizing world after the first World War. In the current political and cultural moment, hard lines are being drawn to define and reward ideas of normalcy by spotlighting and punishing an expanding profile of ‘others’. Re-staging Oskar Schlemmer’s work in 2019 transforms otherness into a powerful aesthetic—not just for rethinking the status quo, but to envision a radically inclusive future that enacts meaningful and intimate relationships among personhood, otherness, and our built environment.

The costumes and stage-pieces riff upon the triadic components of the original: rectangular, triangular, and circular geometry; yellow, pink, and grayscale color; cheerful, festive, and mystical tones of voice. A performance brings the costumes to life, and solicits an ongoing mix-up of the animate and the inert, suggesting multiple and overlapping relationships between human and nonhuman charisma. While the architecture of the costumes and stage-pieces adopts anthropomorphic suggestions, it conjures open-ended animate qualities that challenge a privileged and singular anthropocentric position. The performance stages architecture’s capacity to usher nonhuman qualities into our everyday social space, all while putting on a show that sparks entertainment, play, and laughter.

This project was created as collaboration between Could Be Architecture and the Elmhurst Art Museum’s Teen Art Council lead by Joseph Hladik, Director of Education & Grants Administrator. Could Be Architecture is a Chicago and Elmhurst-based design practice directed by Joseph Altshuler and Zack Morrison. The Teen Art Council includes Arianna Denning, Kendall Dirks, April Fatheree, Mallori Hecker, Isabel Jones, Hannah Lonergan, Addison Mcclary, Matthew Milani, Savannah Nichols.

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