Wand: A Participatory Art Exhibition by Olaf Holzapfel

bauhaus earth

We are pleased to be part of conceptual artist Olaf Holzapfel’s new participatory art installation “Wand” [Wall] at the Umweltbundesamt in Dessau. Against the backdrop of rapid urbanization processes worldwide, the installation piece, located in the foyer of the UBA headquarters, explores the role of traditional craft and nature-based building materials in the rediscovery of a regenerative building culture. The work incorporates elements of woven willow, straw thatching, and earth block masonry in an experimental wall-like architectural element.

A collaboration with Olaf Holzapfel and UBA

Olaf Holzapfel is a renowned German contemporary artist whose work has been displayed across the world. His pieces investigate a broad range of topics and media. Some of his common themes are the use and production of space, indigenous and traditional craft, and the digital realm. Holzapfel has made use of natural and regrowing materials — as well as the crafting traditions that accompany these materials — for several decades, including wood, straw, and plant fibres.

The Umweltbundesamt in Holzapfel’s hometown of Dessau invited the artist to create the new project “Wand”. The installation explores manifold themes through its interdisciplinary approach: the interplay of inside/outside, natural/man-made, new/traditional. It will remain on display in the UBA headquarters until December 2024.

For more information, visit the website of the exhibition, or go see it for yourself!
Umweltbundesamt, Wörlitzer Platz 1, Dessau-Roßlau
Opening times:
Monday – Friday, 9 – 18:00
Saturday – Sunday, 9 – 16:00

Olaf Holzapfel at the opening event of the Wand exhibition.

Making of the Wall

The installation was conceived and constructed in close partnership with researchers, designers, artisans, and students of architecture at the Hochschule Anhalt in Dessau. A series of talks and public workshops with the artist and collaborators accompanied the building of each element. This included, for example, a willow weaving workshop with master weaver Ralf Eggert and a straw and hemp workshop with designer Anne Lengnink.

Bauhaus Earth contributed to the exhibition with an experimental element made of pressed earth blocks. Micha Kretschmann and Christian Gäth from the Bauhaus Earth Innovation Lab led a workshop on the production of earth blocks and mortar. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting artistic and aesthetic exploration of the materials that lie at the heart of our own work.

Exhibition Credits

Artist: Olaf Holzapfel
Curator: Bernard Vienat
Project Management: Fotini Mavromati, Umweltbundesamt
Contributors: Ralf Eggert, Anne Lengnink, Christian Gäth, Micha Kretschmann