Book event: ‘Ascendants: Bauhaus Handprints Collected by László Moholy-Nagy’

Speakers: Dr Robin Schuldenfrei (The Courtauld), Professor Jan Tichy (Associate Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA) and Professor Elizabeth Otto (Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, The State University of New York, Buffalo, USA)


Ascendants: Bauhaus Handprints Collected by László Moholy-Nagy is a new publication that offers a unique insight into one of the less familiar sides of the Bauhaus at large and Moholy-Nagy in particular. In May 1926, thirteen Bauhaus professors and students created handprints that were preserved by László Moholy-Nagy. This book brings together for the first time all of the so-called Bauhaus handprints in their historical and contemporary contexts with scholars and artists touching upon and responding to the Bauhaus legacy. 

This event is dedicated to the less rational and the less well-trodden aspects of life at the Bauhaus. With guest speakers Prof. Jan Tichy and Prof. Elizabeth Ottoin conversation with Dr Robin Schuldenfrei, it will explore questions of early 20th century beliefs, practices, collaborations, and works produced both formally and informally at the Bauhaus.  

Organised by Dr Robin Schuldenfrei – (Katja and Nicolai Tangen Senior Lecturer in 20th Century Modernism at The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Elizabeth Otto is Professor of art history and gender studies at the State University of New York at BuffaloShe is the author of Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics (MIT Press, 2019) and Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt (2005), and the co-author of Bauhaus Women: A Global Perspective (with Patrick Rössler, 2019). Her coedited books include Bauhaus Bodies: Gender, Sexuality, and Body Culture in Modernism’s Legendary Art School (with Rössler, 2019), Art and Resistance in Germany (with Deborah Ascher Barnstone, 2018), and Passages of Exile (with Burcu Dogramaci, 2017).  


Jan Tichy is a contemporary artist and educator. Working at the intersection of video, sculpture, architecture, and photography, his conceptual work is socially and politically engaged. Tichy earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is an Associate Professor at the Department of Photography and the Department of Art & Technology Studies. Tichy has had solo exhibitions at the MCA Chicago; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; CCA Tel Aviv; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and elsewhere.  His works are included in public collections of MoMA in New York and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem among others. His large public art projects engage communities and offer platforms to share. In 2011 Project Cabrini Green illuminated with the spoken word the last high rise building of the Cabrini Green housing projects in Chicago and Beyond Streaming: a sound mural for Flint at the Broad Museum in Michigan in 2017 brought teens from Flint and Lansing to share their experience of the ongoing water crisis. He is particularly interested in the art and pedagogy of László Moholy-Nagy and is also co-curating, with Robin Schuldenfrei, a retrospective on Bauhaus photographer Lucia Moholy. In summer 2020 he was an invited artist at the Bauhaus Residency programme, where he lived and worked at the Schlemmer Master House. 


Robin Schuldenfrei is the Katja and Nicolai Tangen Senior Lecturer in 20th Century Modernism at The Courtauld Institute of Art. She has written widely on modernism as it intersects with theories of the object, architecture and interiors. Her publications include Luxury and Modernism: Architecture and the Object in Germany 1900-1933 (Princeton University Press, 2018) as well as numerous articles, essays, and the edited volumes: Iteration: Episodes in the Mediation of Art and Architecture (2020), Atomic Dwelling: Anxiety, Domesticity, and Postwar Architecture (2012) and, co-edited with Jeffrey Saletnik, Bauhaus Construct: Fashioning Identity, Discourse, and Modernism (2009).