German painter, sculptor and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer would have celebrated his 130th birthday today. To honor him, Google has dedicated a doodle to the great personality, who was a German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer Oskar Schlemmer. His most famous work is the Triadic Ballet where the actors are transformed into geometric shapes.
Bulbous mechanical creatures wearing metallic masks are not the usual image that comes to mind when one thinks of ballet. But that’s precisely what Oskar Schlemmer used to stage his ‘Triadic Ballet,’ a groundbreaking production that premiered in Stuttgart, Germany in 1922.
With three dancers, 12 movements, and 18 costumes, Schlemmer’s innovative approach to ballet broke with all convention to explore the relationship between body and space in new and exciting ways. He described the performance as “‘artistic metaphysical mathematics,” and a “party in form and colour.” Born on this day in 1888, Schlemmer was the youngest of six children who attended art school before traveling to in Weimar, Germany to join Walter Gropius’s avant-garde Bauhaus, where he became director of stage research and production.
Oskar Schlemmer’s ideas on art were complex and challenging even for the progressive Bauhaus movement. The Bauhaus movement was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933 that combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the approach to design that it publicized and taught. His work, nevertheless, was widely exhibited in both Germany and outside the country.
His work was a rejection of pure abstraction, instead retaining a sense of the human, though not in the emotional sense but in view of the physical structure of the human. Oskar Schlemmer represented bodies as architectural forms, reducing the figure to a rhythmic play between convex, concave and flat surfaces. As well as leaving a large body of work behind, Schlemmer art theories have also been published.
Schlemmer also experimented with painting, sculpture, but it was his creative theater designs that are most remembered, influencing future artists like David Bowie.
“He once described the themes of his work: ‘the human figure in space, its moving and stationary functions, sitting, lying, walking, standing” as being “as simple as they are universally valid.”
Schlemmer died in 1943 in Baden-Baden. Google Doodle salutes the genius of Oskar Schlemmer on his birth anniversary.
“Happy Birthday Oskar Schlemmer!”
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