130611: Hofmobiliendepot – Möbel Museum Wien Marcel Breuer – Design and Architecture

Hofmobiliendepot – Möbel Museum Wien Marcel Breuer – Design and Architecture 16.03.11 – 03.07.11 Collar until it bursts Vienna was not worth an episode; it was – as he described - the “most unhappy time of my life”. Only a few weeks after he joined the Academy of Fine Arts, 18 year-old Marcel Breuer, born 1902 in Pécs, Hungary – was drawn to the Weimarer Bauhaus where the next avant-garde was already very much alive. Even if Johannes Itten attested the young student great talent as a painter, painting was simply too boring for Breuer. At first it was furniture, and later – and that was probably corresponded most to his self-conception – architecture. Walter Gropius became his teacher, mentor and lifelong (paternal) friend. Design and architecture remain to be the two main themes for which Marcel Breuer (1902 – 1981) still stands today – for one he is known in Europe and for the other in the USA, where he emigrated in 1937. In the exhibition at the Hofmobilien Depot (organized by the Vitra Design Museum), numerous originals, documents and models present both topics, bringing up the question where aspiring for aspiration leads. The master cannot be denied a certain audacity in both fields; audacity, passion for new materials and a profound pleasure in surface structure. Following the first wooden furniture designs, strongly influenced by the De Stijl group, it was a bicycle handlebar that inspired Breuer to employ steel tubes as the new material for his work - the result being the tubular steel furniture “Wassily”, which became a classic as well as his subsequent models known as the cantilever chairs. Yet, Breuer’s aluminium and laminated wooden chairs were not as successful – but that didn’t matter much in the USA – here everything centred on realty. And again his work was characterized by audacity. “This is what one calls an experiment”, was the laconic comment to the Breuer’s balcony design, which was only stabilized by steel cables. An experiment, according to Breuer “was one of the responsibilities of an architect”, and beyond that he aspired towards typologies, clear forms that could be repeatedly utilised. Unique, if not spectacular, are Marcel Breuer’s monumental sacred buildings, e.g. St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Here it is less the audacity or experimenting that are impressive, but rather the sculptural quality of the outer shell and the overwhelming interior, a grandiose symbiosis of various surfaces and lighting. Unhappy or not, Marcel Breuer’s 30th obit will be commemorated in Vienna - as an anecdote to the missing episode. By Daniela Gregori Hofmobiliendepot – Möbel Museum Wien 1070 Vienna, Mariahilfer Strasse 88, entrance Andreasgasse 7 Tel: +43 1 524 33 57 – 0 Fax: +43 1 524 33 57 – 666 Email: info@hofmobiliendepot.at http://www.hofmobiliendepot.at

Hofmobiliendepot - Möbel Museum Wien
1070 Wien, Mariahilfer Strasse 88, Eingang Andreasgasse 7
Tel: +43-1-524 33 57-0, Fax: +43-1-524 33 57-666
Email: info@hofmobiliendepot.at

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