Learning from HfG Ulm congress
The HfG Ulm Building: 3 loops and a scene conference
Loop_1: Bill’s life or the “konkrete Kunst”. First image: Max Bill is wearing a ruff, an ornament for the neck made of ruffled linen. It symbolises the beginning and the end of two moments with no discontinuity. In the loop of his life, his rhizomatic being prevents him from evolving in one single direction and, faced with the dilemma of choosing between one or the other, he chooses both.
Loop_2: His stance as an artist or the “product Form”. Bill appears in white overalls on a ladder. He is spraying a Möbius strip that is suspended on a column without touching it. His position with respect to the figure – with which he is interacting – explains his understanding of art as a single idea (the column) that multiplies itself as an object (the strip). He is the link between statics (the column) and dynamics (the strip), which is always different in its loop.
Loop 3: The Ulm opportunity or the “gute Form”. The most natural form of an object – developed based on its function – only expresses the technical conditions under which it was manufactured. It reaches beauty when it solves the previous determinants. In Ulm, Bill has a clear concept of the new relationship between humankind and space: humankind contributes the dynamics to something that is conceptually static. A uniform space becomes dynamic and aspires to integrate the exterior in the interior, where the proportionality among its parts plays with the irregularity of nature.
Final scene: the building of the Hochschule für Gestaltung as a relational element between “konkrete Kunst”, “product Form” and “die gute Form”. In Francisco Alonso’s words, “they are the triangular and synthetic principles stated by Bill; constituent and driving ideas of the great tradition of German arts and crafts”. According to Margit Staber, those ideas and crafts produced “a building with a simple principle – only what can be represented in spatial terms is drawn –, on which Bill acts with an almost visionary imagination. His intuitions translate reality and take on a systematic form, maturing architecturally, trying to steal (sottrarre) the personal and subjective aspects of Wright’s, Le Corbusier’s and Mies’ buildings, thus gaining the impressive strength of an expressive architectural will”.