Achim Preiß

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Achim Preiß (born 24 March 1956 in Cologne) is a German university lecturer, art historian, curator and painter. Until 2016 he taught as a professor of architectural history at the Faculty of Design at the Bauhaus University Weimar.[1]


Achim Preiß is the son of the architect Georg Preiß and his wife Erika, née Jansen. After elementary school, he attended the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium from 1966, where he passed his school-leaving examination in 1975. Afterwards he studied art history with the subsidiary subjects political science and urban planning at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn under the professors Tilmann Buddensieg, Justus Müller-Hofstede, Leopold Ettlinger, Werner Oechslin, Eduard Trier, Werner Busch and Hugo Borger. In 1984 Achim Preiß completed his doctorate under Hugo Borger on the architectural history of the medieval church of St. Chrysantus and Daria in Bad Münstereifel.

In 1985 Achim Preiß was a university assistant at the art history department of the University of Wuppertal under Donat de Chapeaurouge. In 1991 he completed his habilitation in medieval and modern art history and in 1992 he took over the chair of art history at the same university.

In 1987 Achim Preiß was the editor of a series of art books at the publishing house Klinkhardt & Biermann in Munich, which he edited with the support of his wife under the name “ZeitZeugeKunst”. In 1992, together with his wife Bettina Preiß, he founded a publishing house in combination with a database of humanities research results, which is now located in Weimar under the name VDG Verlag.[2]

In 1992, he received a call to the Bauhaus University of Weimar, which was connected with the assignment to establish the chair of architectural history within the newly founded faculty of design. From 1996 onwards, an intensive cooperation with the Weimar Art Collections developed, resulting in the organization of the three-part exhibition “Rise and Fall of Modernism” in 1999.[3][4] Differences of opinion between artists such as Neo Rauch and curators led to the Weimar Picture Controversy.[5][6][7]

In 2005 Achim Preiß acquired and revitalized a historic windmill in Oberreißen. Here a freelance training and studio business developed, which eventually gave rise to the exhibition series “Bazonnale” (together with Bazon Brock) and the Krohne Institute for Experimental Cultural Industries. The latter is based in the Kirms-Krackow-Haus in Weimar.

Together with Bettina Preiß and Sybille Möller, Achim Preiß founded the Kunstquartier Kulturfabrik Apolda in 2012, an “Excellent Place 2014” of the initiative Germany – Land of Ideas.[8]

Achim Preiß is married to Bettina Preiß, née Schneider. The couple has two sons.

Research focus and teaching

From the beginning, the teaching focus was on architectural history from the Middle Ages to modern times (Romanesque and Gothic sacred architecture, Roman Baroque, French church building of the 17th and 18th centuries, English urban planning of the 17th to 19th centuries, museum architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, art, architecture and design of the 20th century, and history of the media). From 1992, the history of modernism and art history of the GDR were added. Ten years later, the architectural history teaching area was expanded to include futurology. In this context, the history of art and architecture of the early modern period is examined with regard to its strategic topicality. From 2007 onwards, the teaching was expanded to include the application of cultural development theories to design and artistic practice.

Curatorial work (selection)

In 1985 he was responsible for organising and running the exhibition “Schloß Augustusburg – Gründungshof – Burg – Schloß” on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the city of Brühl in the Orangerie of Augustusburg Palace. Four years later he was a consultant for a cultural programme of the WDR on the history of the museum and produced a draft of a cultural programme for a private film company in Bonn. Also in 1989 he was responsible for the exhibition on the medieval history of Münstereifel on the occasion of the reopening of the restored church of St.Chrysantus and Daria. Also in 1989 he organized an international scientific congress at the German-Italian cultural foundation “Villa Vigoni” in Menaggio/Como on the subject of “Giuseppe Terragni (1902-43) – On the context of rationalist architecture in Italy”. In 2001, together with the Weimar artist Heinzz Flottran, Preiß was responsible for the organisation and realisation of an art action on the Kyffhäuser Monument on the occasion of the Kyffhäuser Culture Days 2001. In the same year, he was commissioned to advise and collaborate on the DFG project “Compilation of a catalogue raisonné of the works of Henry van de Velde”, which was led by the Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar. In 2007 he founded the “Neue Weimarer Schule” with the artists Julia Langer and Jasmin Kleingärtner. In 2010 he founded the exhibition series “Bazonnale” with the Neue Weimarer Schule, the Portalkunstgeschichte, the VDG-Verlag and the Cremer-Institut in Bonn. The first Bazonnale was dedicated to the theme “Lust”, the Bazonnale 02 to the theme “Afghanistan”. The latter took place in Weimar’s KET Hall. The staging of a “non-curated and thus non-censored large-scale exhibition” met with criticism in the media.[9][10][11] In 2010, Achim Preiß founded the Krohne Institute for Experimental Cultural Industries in Weimar’s Kirms-Krackow-Haus. In addition to exhibitions of visual art and book presentations, talks on art and cultural theory are held within the framework of so-called salons.

Publications (selection)

  • The church of St. Chrysantus and Daria at Bad Münstereifel. The building history according to the results of archaeological excavations. s. n., s. l. 1984, (Bonn, University, dissertation, 1984).
  • with Bazon Brock: Art on Command? Thirty-three to Forty-five (= Time Witness Art). Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-7814-0285-1.
  • with Stefan Germer: Giuseppe Terragni. 1904-1943. Modernity and Fascism in Italy. Klinkhardt und Biermann, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-7814-0287-8.
  • Das Museum und seine Architektur – Die Entwicklung in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts – Zum Kontext der Museumsentwürfe und -bauten von Wilhelm Kreis. s. n., s. l. 1991 (Wuppertal, University, Habilitations-Schrift, 1991; printed as: The Museum and its Architecture. Wilhelm Kreis und der Museumsbau in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. VDG – Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Alfter 1992 (published 1993), ISBN 3-9803234-3-9).
  • as editor with Klaus-Jürgen Winkler: Weimarer Konzepte. The School of Art and Building 1860-1995. VDG – Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Weimar 1996, ISBN 3-929742-84-5.
  • Farewell to the Art of the 20th Century. VDG – Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Weimar 1999, ISBN 978-3-89739-082-9.
  • with Holger Brülls and Klaus Gereon Beuckers: Kunstgeschichtliche Studien. Hugo Borger on his 70th birthday. VDG – Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Weimar 1995, ISBN 3-929742-79-9.
  • The individualist manifesto. The Future of European Societies. VDG – Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, Weimar 2007, ISBN 978-3-89739-546-6 (2nd, improved edition: Das individualistische Manifest. Our Future is the Middle Ages. ibid 2008, ISBN 978-3-89739-586-2).

Web links

Individual references

  1. Professor Achim Preis on the website of the Bauhaus University Weimar. Retrieved March 2021
  2. VDG Publishing House Weimar
  3. The rise and fall of modernity.(Memento of 18 May 2006 in the Internet Archive) In: Kulturberichte, 1/99.
  4. Rolf Bothe, Thomas Föhl (eds.): Aufstieg und Fall der Moderne. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern-Ruit 1999, ISBN 3-7757-0815-4.
  5. Handgreiflicher Bilderstreit. In: Berliner Zeitung, 31 May 1999.
  6. Hanno Rauterberg Kesseltreiben in Weimar. In: Die Zeit, No. 22/1999.
  7. Ulrike Bestgen, et al. (ed.): Der Weimarer Bilderstreit. Scenes of an exhibition. a documentation. VDG-Verlag und Datenbank für Geisteswissenschaften, 2000, ISBN 3-89739-127-9.
  8. Klaus Jäger Arrived in the “Land of Ideas”: Award for Apolda culture factory, Apolda. The Apolda Culture Factory is honored by the location initiative as a role model in rural areas. 2. July 2014
  9. Jörg-Heiko Bruns: Flea market of arbitrariness. In: Thüringer Allgemeine, 9 October 2010.
  10. Jörg-Heiko Bruns: Critique (PDF).(No longer available online.) Formerly in.Original; accessed June 7, 2019.@1@2Template:Dead link/ no longer retrievable, search web archives )
  11. Michael Cremer: on the criticism of the Bazonnale 02(Memento of 10 July 2015 in the Internet Archive).