Laszlo Moholy-Nagy Research

  1. Hungarian
  2. Painter
  3. Bauhaus
  4. Sculptor
  5. Photographer
  6. Designer
  7. Did photograms
  8. Constructivism
  9. Progress of mechanization
  10. Abstract


What makes Moholy-Nagy one of the most representative artists for the Constructivism movement?

His style.

László Moholy-Nagy,  (born July 20, 1895, Bácsborsód, Hungary—died November 24, 1946, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.), Hungarian-born American painter, sculptor, photographer, designer, theorist, and art teacher, whose vision of a nonrepresentational art consisting of pure visual fundamentals—colour, texture, light, and equilibrium of forms—was immensely influential in both the fine and applied arts in the mid-20th century. He is also known for his original approach to art education.After he left the Bauhaus in 1929, Moholy-Nagy became involved in stage design and filmmaking. Fleeing from Nazi Germany in 1934, he went to Amsterdam and London, and in 1937 he moved to Chicago to organize the New Bauhaus (later the Institute of Design of the Illinois Institute of Technology), the first American school based on the Bauhaus program.


Moholy-Nagy proposed that a photogram was like a light painting and in the early 1920’s produced several photograms in which the two dimensional surface of the photosensitive paper was exposed using only light from a flashlight to produce images that exhibited three dimensionality. The illusion of depth was created in the two-dimensional space. These experiments were also expanded to include objects chosen because of their degree of transparency and their physical thickness. these features of the object resulted in unique projections on the two-dimensional photosensitive surface. He also experimented with the concept of motion in the photogram image by actually moving objects during exposure. These ideas at the time were contrary with all of the teaching on the photographic process – lack of vibration or movement during the taking or printing of photographic images. Moholy-Nagy broke the chains of conceptual limitations and expanded photographic possibilities.Moholy-Nagy is considered a major influence on the history of photography.  He trained photographers in the use of light.  Whether or not he discovered or rediscovered the photogram process he certainly created via manipulation of light and object, memorable images based on the synergy of this combination. His use of non-rigid and non-structured materials as light modulators allowed him to make photograms which were dematerialized in the conventional photographic sense and more about transforming the qualities of light into imagery. He employed the facets of crystal and cut glass and veils as non-rigid materials and liquids as non-structured materials for production of his photograms.


In 1937 the famous designer László Moholy-Nagy moved from London to Chicago. His work may serve as an introduction to the kind of relationships between ecological architecture and science that I investigate here. Late in life Moholy-Nagy complained that the original meaning of Louis Sullivan’s celebrated motto “Form follows function” had been “blurred” to a “cheap commercial slogan,” so that its original meaning was lost. According to Moholy-Nagy, the motto should be understood in view of “phenomena occurring in nature,” where every form emerges from its proper function.  As professor of the metal workshop and responsible for teaching the preliminary design course at the Bauhaus, Weimar, Moholy-Nagy is a key figure in the history of modernist design.

Source: From Bauhaus to Eco-house: A history of Ecological Design, 2011

At the same time, he was fascinated by the city, by the skyscrapers and factories, the fast-developing industrial landscape of the early 20th century. Moholy-Nagy thrived on ideas of dynamic progress, of mechanisation, the inherent possibilities of new materials. As he wrote in MA (Today), the avant-garde magazine then being published in Vienna: “Everyone is equal before the machine. I can use it; so can you. It can crush me; the same can happen to you.” His grasp of new technologies was prophetic.Moholy-Nagy was entranced by the mechanised production of artworks, ridiculing the artist’s traditional stance as individual creator. In 1922, his Telephone Paintings were exhibited at Der Sturm gallery in Berlin. The series of three enamel panels had been ordered from a factory specialising in commercial signs. The geometric motif of vertical bar and two crucifix forms was identical on all three panels; only the panel sizes differed. Moholy-Nagy later claimed that he had ordered them by telephone, giving his instructions to the sign painter by means of graph paper and a standard industrial colour chart. This may not be entirely true: Moholy-Nagy could be a joker. Still, he titled the Telephone Paintings not with words but with letters and numbers like a factory production code.


The expectations of the age of technology and his new media led Moholy-Nagy to a functional use of Abstraction, which he managed to show in all areas of design and which guided him through different phases of experimenting. His varied oeuvre ranges from painting, photography, film, design and stage design to experiments with photograms which considerably influenced the development of light art and kinetic art. László Moholy-Nagy left the “Bauhaus” in 1928 together with Gropius and worked in Berlin as a stage designer, exhibition organiser, typographer and film producer. He emigrated to the USA in 1937 and ran the “New Bauhaus” in Chicago. Moholy-Nagy opened his own art institute, the “School of Design”, in Chicago in 1938 and enlarged it in the following years by adding the faculties economics, psychology and information theory.László Moholy-Nagy became severely ill and died one year later, in 1946.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: