Although Hajo Rose only spent three years at Bauhaus the experience was to be one that was to deeply influence both his work and the course of his life
Born in Mannheim in 1910 Hajo Rose joined Bauhaus in 1930 and graduated in 1933. Following his graduation Hajo Rose initially worked with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in Berlin before fleeing to Holland, where he took up a lecturing position at the “Nieuwe Kunstschool” in Amsterdam
In 1949 he moved to Dresden to take up a teaching post under Mart Stam at the Hochschule für Bildenden Künste before moving onto the Fachschule für angewandte Kunst in Leipzig.
In 1958 Hajo Rose left the ruling East German party and so was no longer allowed to teach; and subsequently made his living as a freelance graphic designer and exhibition stand designer.
Hajo Rose died in Leipzig in 1989.
“Hajo Rose – Bauhaus Foto Typo” at the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin is not only a wonderful introduction to a man and his work, but much more a reminder that although “Bauhaus” is normally associated with only a few names – the institution was home to numerous designers, architects, artists and photographers who went on to help shape, define and influence post war architecture, design and art.
The reasons why the likes of Marianne Brandt, Herbert Hirche – or indeed Hajo Rose – have become “forgotten” – at least relatively – are as varied as the artists themselves.
In the case of Herbert Hirche, for example, it can be traced to the fact that only relatively few of his designs were ever realised and that his more important role was as a lecturer and professor.
In terms of Hajo Rose exhibition curator Ulrike Staroste sees the reason more in a clash of systems “In the DDR Bauhaus was seen as decadent and middle-class and in that sense rejected by the authorities. Hajo Rose however remained true to what he had learned at Bauhaus, and so consequently had to endure continual criticism from the authorities”
It was this criticism that eventually led to his decision to leave the party – and so in effect outwith the mainstream.
Although this clash of systems was certainly true in the early years of the DDR, from the late 1960s onward the official image of Bauhaus in East Germany changed.
Or at least was officially presented as having some positive aspects.
This “softening” not only allowed more opportunities for Hajo Rose’s work to presented in public exhibitions, but in the words of the Art historian Dr Diether Schmidt “encouraged him undertake new experimental freelance work”1
Consequently Hajo Rose, his work and his Bauhaus legacy have not been completely lost and today in addition to the collection in the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin, Hajo Rose collections exist in Amsterdam and the MoMa in New York.
“Hajo Rose – Bauhaus Foto Typo” predominately concentrates on his time at Bauhaus and in Holland – as it were that phase of his career when he was still learning, experimenting and still very much under the influence of the likes of Josef Alber, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Walter Peterhans, Herbert Bayers or Joost Schmidts. And as such presents a wonderful overview of what he was capable of and for all what he learned from his time at Bauhaus – and what Bauhaus can still teach us today.
“At Bauhaus they were taught to use materials to create completely new things, and Hajo Rose always tried to develop new things and always to experiment.”, say curator Ulrike Staroste, “He was full of ideas and so for a non-artist it is fascinating to see how he interpreted things and what he tried”
“Hajo Rose – Bauhaus Foto Typo” can be viewed at the Bauhaus Archiv Berlin until November 11th
On October the 31st the Bauhaus Brunch offers Brunch and tour through the exhibition in the company of curator Ulrike Staroste.
Full details can be found at www.bauhaus.de/
1. Dr. Diether Schmidt, Introduction in “Hajo Rose Bauhäusler” Galerie Comenius, Dresden 1980