diary entry, bauhaus, weimar
Just two days, and how rich they’ve been already. The first evening there was a wonderful party; one immediately sensed what sort of spirit flourishes here, a party to celebrate the opening of the dining hall. A large hall, white-clad tables, green walls, music; we were met with cheerful music.The people, who have come here to create in earnest, are all still strangers, but they want to get to know each other; is there a better way to do so than simply by happily passing the time together, dancing and playing? We were very exited about this beginning; of course, the whole Munich bloc sat together, faculty and students: a big, colorful hodgepodge. First, there was a marvelous free dinner. Then there was a shadow play of some delightful Morgenstern Lieder, a capital idea–and brilliantly silhouetted; then a shadow play showing the construction of the dining hall, also fabulously witty and imaginative, there was real artistry in it. Then there was dancing. It wasn’t beautiful dancing, but wild and frolic- some, like dancing on a colourful meadow...
Oh, sometimes I wish I were among people, creating forms, shaping life, making people–and children–oh, how marvelous that must be, and I freeze up when I think about my kind of art. Will the world ever bloom for me like that; someday–oh, I’d like to give myself–but I know that I have to wait, look into myself, all of myself. My little garret is just right for that; you cannot see outside, it envelops you and doesn’t permit you to gaze into the distance–but into the depths–I need to look deep inside in the upcoming months.
The party was a lively beginning; we were all carried away by it, and then came
the serious works from Gropius. We are faced with a vacuum; it has to be filled,
it has to be built, and every hand is needed. Don’t shrink from chaos, but take from
it things that seem to use to represent life, and give shape to them. Then he told
us about the different opportunities the school already offers for artistic and professional development.
Itten–here great things are starting to become clear to me; mysteries, wider contexts appear visible; things I vaguely feel are entering my consciousness and now I can start to develop them.
His first words were about rhythm. First, one has to train one’s hand, make the fingers flexible; we do finger exercises just as pianists do. We begin to feel what makes rhythm come into being, endless circular motions, starting with the tips of the fingers, the movement flows into the wrist, the elbows, the shoulders, up to the heart. One has to feel it in every stroke, every line; no more drawing without feeling, no more half-comprehended rhythm. Drawing is not replicating what we see, but instead letting flow through the entire body that which we feel through external stimulus (as well as through purely internal stimulus, of course). It then comes out again as something that is definitely one’s own, some artistic creation or, more simply, pulsating life. When we draw a circle, the emotion of the circle has to vibrate throughout the entire body.
Diary entry, 18 October, 1919