László Moholy-Nagy review

4 out of 5 stars
László Moholy-Nagy review
© the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy. Image courtesy of the Estate of László Moholy-Nagy

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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László Moholy-Nagy set things in motion back in the ’30s that are still picking up speed today. The Hungarian modernist fused art and technology, creating a body of work that explored the base, elemental, constituent parts of our aesthetic world.

This small show brings together a handful of Moholy-Nagy’s collages, paintings and sculptures, and make a tidy case for him as one of the most relevant of modernists.

The first WOW moment is a set of three enamel panels comprised of simple black, yellow and red lines on white backgrounds. Moholy-Nagy had these produced industrially based on his own graph paper drawings. They’re perfect: impeccably neat, almost digitally clean – a proto-Photoshop bit of visual perfection.

Next is his ‘Light-Space-Modulator’, produced with engineering firm AEG. Every hour it flicks on for three minutes, its prisms and grates sending myriad shadows dancing across the room. It’s an industrially-produced light machine, a contraption for creating untouchable shapes. It’s like the best disco ball ever.

Surrounding these pivotal, influential works are experimental collages, photographs and paintings. Moholy-Nagy was relentless in toying with form, light and technology. The show’s a little weak on explanatory information, but you can see past that. If this work was made right now it would be good, but it was made way back then, so it’s really good.


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