During his Bauhaus Centenary Residency in the summer of 2019, Jay Gard (born 1984 in Halle/Saale) worked extensively with furniture pieces created during the Bauhaus period. “For me, the B 9 by Marcel Breuer, with its brilliant design and perfect interplay of curved metal and angular wooden top is much more than a piece of furniture – it’s a marvellous piece of art,” says Jay Gard. When the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation asked if he would like to create a special edition of the B 9 stool as visitor seating for the new museum, he jumped at the chance. Gard found the history behind Marcel Breuer’s B 9 tubular steel stool, an icon of modern design in the 20th century, fascinating. At the time, Gropius and Breuer themselves argued over whether the stool should be an article for mass production or an artistic design. The “Margaretha” and “Margaretha 2” collections are the result of the interplay between Breuer’s design, Reichardt’s colours and Gard’s interpretation. They come together to create a new artistic work, in which the age-old question of individual authorship resonates.
Jay Gard took inspiration for his latest work from a hand-woven children’s carpet designed by Margaretha “Grete” Reichart, an important designer who emerged from the Bauhaus weaving workshop. “What really intrigued me were the materiality and the colours of the woven carpet, which is part of the exhibition, but also the fact that it is a work of art with a practical use,” says Gard regarding his choice of reference object. He separated out the individual colours of the carpet and added new shades too, inspired by shadows and reflections. This resulted in around 30 different colours that the artist mixed and matched on the tops of the visitors’ stools. In Gard’s design the seat tops are in a a single colour with the underneath and sides being multi-hued providing a fan-like interplay of colour, so that each stool is a unique work of art. Gard applied the special and finely pigmented acrylic paint to the wooden seats with a roller during his Bauhaus residency in the Meisterhaus Schlemmer.
The piece of furniture, which was originally part of Breuer’s four-piece nesting table (B 9 a-d), has precisely the right dimensions to be used by the museum guests as a stool that they can also pick up and move around to sit wherever they like while taking in the surrounding exhibits. “The stools get rearranged every day. Through this playful movement the visitors can really feel how the colours interact with each other. I’m sure that physically experiencing colour like that unleashes quite a bit of creativity,” enthuses the artist who has been working with colour harmony and interplay for many years.