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Analogue Approaches to Visual Art: László Moholy-Nagy at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest

This season, the Ludwig Museum, housed within the Budapest Palace of the Arts, is hosting an exhibition of László Moholy-Nagy. The Art of Light, as the exhibition has been titled, crosses the artist's entire career exploring not just his photographic works but also his films, paintings, typography and stage design.

MOHOLY-NAGY László Untitled, ca. 1938, Original photogram from Chicago, Fotostiftung Schweiz, Winterthur. Donation in memoriam S. and C. Giedion Welcker ©Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VEGAP 2011 via Ludwig Museum

On it’s second floor, the Ludwig Museum is hosting the fourth in a series of exhibitions examining Hungarian photographers who accomplished world fame. Following displays of work by Robert Capa, Martin Munkácsi and György Kepes, the Museum is currently showcasing the work of László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946).
 
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Moholy-Nagy was one of Hungary’s youngest avant-garde artists. In Vienna then Berlin, he came under the influence of Dadaism and Constructivism. Shortly after, upon invitation of director Walter Gropius himself, Moholy-Nagy became a teacher at the Bauhaus in Weimar, the most progressive art school of the time.

MOHOLY-NAGY László, View from the Radio Tower, Berlin, 1928 Gelatin silver print, Private collection ©Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VEGAP 2011 via Ludwig Museum

Whilst exploring painting and leading the Bauhaus’ Metal Workshop, Moholy-Nagy also turned towards photography and film, both relatively new art forms which questioned traditional principles of art.
 

MOHOLY-NAGY László Light Play – Black-White-Grey, 1930, Film with music, 6 min Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Ann Arbor, Michigan ©Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VEGAP 2011 via Ludwig Museum

Thus, considering his choice of medium, it is unsurprising that the central organising principle in Moholy-Nagy’s diverse activity was light. Light defined the artist’s photograms, and photographs but also his paintings, typography and theatre sets. It is therefore fitting that light was made the central focus of the exhibition.

MOHOLY-NAGY László Chairs at Margate, 1935, Gelatin silver print diptych ©Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VEGAP 2011 via Ludwig Museum

Although the showcase of work explores Moholy-Nagy’s achievements from 1922 onwards one by one, it focuses mainly on the artist’s photographic output: photographs which very often sacrificed nothing in favour of strong compositional elements. As his photograms also unabashedly prove, Moholy-Nagy did not regard photography as a tool for the perfect reproduction of reality, rather, he possessed the medium in such a way that it liberated him. Precisely, because he made use of it for the very the opposite.

MOHOLY-NAGY László, Oskar Schlemmer in Ascona, 1926 Gelatin silver print, Collection of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo ©Hattula Moholy-Nagy/VEGAP 2011 via Ludwig Museum

An international collaboration, László Moholy-Nagy. The Art of Light brings together over 200 pieces and documents from over twenty museums around the world. Previously shown in Madrid, Berlin and The Hague, the exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest is open until September 25th, 2011.

For further info. visit The Ludwig Museum

written by webo29

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