I was at the Bauhaus Museum at Dessau last Saturday with a good friend from Barcelona. The way in which sports and arts intersect is a notion that has always fascinated me. Where do the first ones end, where do the others begin, and at which point of the performance do they become one and the same? You just have to look at disciplines like artistic gymnastics or synchronized swimming to get a sense of what I’m talking about. The Greeks spent a fair share of their time under the Mediterranean sun marveling at the wonders of the human body and its ability to create beautiful figures through movement. And as I found out last weekend, there was a group of artists – in more recent times and much closer to home – who were also captivated by the fusion of sports and beauty.

On 4th December of 1926, the industrial city of Dessau saw the opening ceremony of the Bauhaus building, which lasted two days. The Staatliches Bauhaus, the German art school whose vision was to combine aesthetics and functionality, had to leave its birthplace in Weimar due to political pressure from the rising NSDAP. Dessau was selected then as the new location for the school, and the film programme for the opening aimed at connecting images of acceleration and intensity with the aesthetics of fast-paced modernity.

At the opening, three short movies were shown: How do we live in a healthy and economic way?, The growth of crystals, and Nurmi, the world’s fastest man. This last one was interestingly shot in slow motion to convey a message of contradiction between image and reality. The Flying Finn, as they called him, Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish runner 8-times Olympic champion who dominated long distance running in the 1920s. I was at the Bauhaus Museum and I noticed that this footage had been replaced by a different one, Le Mile, shot in 1932 and featuring French runner Jules Ladoumégue, who broke a series of world records and even ousted Nurmi as the world’s fastest man.

Both footages, nevertheless, open a door for us to wonder about the link between sport, image, and art. What are your thoughts on this?