Paul Jaray –
The rationality of the streamline
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first automobile with a scientifically based, aerodynamic design, Kunsthaus Dahlem is dedicating the first monographic exhibition in Berlin to the engineer, artist and mathematician Paul Jaray (1889-1974). The fluid mechanical discoveries that led to his Ley prototype of 1922 not only revolutionised automotive design but also intervened dramatically in the cultural development of the twentieth century.
The project therefore traces the versatility of this still unjustifiably forgotten scientist and inventor, thereby for the first time addressing the decisive influence that his inventions in particular, but also the progress of the discipline of aerodynamics as a whole had on the visual arts – especially on the sculpture of his time. Select works by Max Bill, Alexander Archipenko, Man Ray, Le Corbusier, Francis Picabia, among others, impressively demonstrate this connection.
In the face of his pioneering research, it remains to be explained why Paul Jaray, the once famous originator of so many innovations and so much technical foundational research, who was also quite present in the media, could die in 1974 without any fortune worth mentioning, but, more importantly, for the most part forgotten. The reason for this lies in the obliteration of his authorship in the course of the persecution of the Jews by German fascism, which extinguished his large Viennese family, so influential in art and culture, just as it did his reputation. The reconstruction of the buried biography of Paul Jaray as the prototypical manifestation of the artist-designer figure of the modern avant garde is the aim of this broad project.
The exhibition was conceived of by Wolfgang Scheppe and the Arsenale Institute for the Politics of Representation, Venice.
The exhibition is supported by the Arsenale Institute for Politics of Representation, Venice, Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung and the Freundeskreis Kunsthaus Dahlem – Bernhard Heiliger e.V.