Known for breaking convention, German abstractionist Schlemmer remembered on 130th birth anniversary

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New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) German artist Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943), who donned many hats — a painter, theatrist, sculptor and choreographer — and was best-known for his geometric rendering of the ballet costumes, was honoured by a Google Doodle on his 130th birthday on Tuesday.

His 1922 work “Das triadisches Ballett” (The Triadic Ballet) — a ballet he choreographed and designed costumes for — marked a discourse, in the theatre and dance domain, on the transformative nature of costumes.

“The transformation of the human body, its metamorphosis, is made possible by the costume, the disguise,” he wrote in an essay in the book “The Theater of the Bauhaus”

It was edited by Walter Gropius, founder of the German art school Bauhaus, where Schlemmer taught.

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“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,” Google wrote in its tribute to the artist.

Schlemmer’s fascination with the human body as an abstract, architectural entity is visible in the doodle, which recreates his geometric costumes.

As Google writes, “Bulbous mechanical creatures wearing metallic masks are not the usual image that comes to mind when one thinks of ballet”.

Yet, his costumes based on cones, cylinder and sphere shapes found space in theatre and dance.

Not just that, they reveal what he was most fascinated with — the idea of abstraction.

Schlemmer, in his essay, delineates “fixed” and “frozen” arts — painting, sculpture, architecture — from the “successive and transient action” on stage.

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The space of the stage, he says, offers form and colour in motion.

In what seems like the perfect reasoning behind his revolutionary costumes, he wrote that the Man and stage’s space have two different laws of order.

He went on to say that either the abstract stage or the Man must “recast to fit in the mold” of each other.

Even after many years, Schlemmer’s “Triadic Ballet” is redapted on the stage, and his creative theatre designs continue to impact the arts world.

–IANS

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