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Moholy-Nagy Essay

Moholy-Nagy was a renowned artist, sculptor, manufacturing creator, typographer, photographer and film- creator. He was born in southern Hungary in a village of wheat farm close to Moholy village. (Kaplan, Louis. 1)He had a broken family and was brought up by his mother and grandmother. After initial education he started studying law in Budapest but eventually he turned out to be a soldier in Austro-Hungary army, fighting in Galicia, the Russian front in World War I. (Kaplan, Louis. 1)

His Art: He completed his initial pictures and engraved verses in and approximately the battleground throughout the confrontations when he was critically injured and hospitalized. Among those poems were the “Light Vision” which made him obsessed with the principles of light and made him realize that space, time and material were somehow inter-connected with the reference of light. At the age of forty, Moholy-Nagy arrived in London, at that time he was at the top of his natural abilities.

He was one of the most influential artists in the field of photography, though his abilities were not just confined with the art of photography. He was more known because of his knowledge, teachings and writings for modern art and constructive paintings. (Kaplan, Louis. 2) Moholy-Nagy constantly experimented with diverse styles and methods that led him to the invention of photographic images. He did not followed the typical style of orthodox photography but by using new materials he gave a new look to photographic images.

He is considered the father of today’s abstract photography which he invented by several experiments and attempts. His arts and experiments relating to them were known to the world after few years of the creation of non-representational images by the German, Christian Schad in 1918. (Xuered, Micheal, 2) Throughout its existence, Moholy Nagy used a number of methods that were produced without the use of a camera. These included bright pictorials, photograms, camera-friendly descriptions not including cameras and Rayographs, as called by Man Ray.

These types were the essentials that majorly produced using the non camera technology. Similar to additional products created by usage of different mechanisms, photographable images-camera less and others ought not to deal with conservative responses or individual thoughts but should be concerned with illumination and appearance. (Xuered, Micheal, 2) Abstract Art: Usually the images and portraits that he use to produce were the form of everyday objects and elements, which were sometimes easy to identify and sometimes quite difficult to understand.

But whatever he used to make seemed to lose its functionality and its character. The art was to create a camera less image with the forms that used to be identified by the spaces between the objects and not by observing the object itself anymore. Moholy-Nagy was an activist in the new artistic movement sweeping across Europe through-out 1920s, which was a revolutionary movement in which story telling art was blossomed in terms of abstract, primordial and elements.

Functional designs were in the process of mass production and distribution to compensate the huge social damages of war. Moholy-Nagy was a painter as he wrote after the destructive war saying that “It is my gift to project my vitality, my building power, through light, color, form. I can give life as a painter” (Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, 12). He used to emphasis and experiment on fundamentals and the relation of colors, shapes and objects. His obsession with the shapes and colors was because it seemed to him as the purest form of nature.

Moholy-Nagy was simultaneously impressed by the skyscrapers and developments of modern cities in the beginning of 20th century that made him thrive on the idea of dynamic progress of mechanization and the possibilities of new materials in it. He once wrote in a magazine “Everyone is equal before the machine. I can use it; so can you. It can crush me; the same can happen to you. ” (Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, 19) At Der Sturm, in the year of 1922, Moholy-Nagy managed to participate in an exhibition.

There he displayed his telephone paintings. The object was a series of three enamel panels which was made by the factory that specialized commercial sign on the order by Moholy-Nagy. Among all the panels, the only difference was of sizes, while the geometric motives of the vertical bar and the two crucifix forms remained as it is on all the three panels. The Telephone Painting of Moholy-Nagy was entitled with the letters and numbers as they are written on a factory production code. (Kaplan, Louis. 4)

Moholy-Nagy used to see photography as the modern art of future and by the discovery of discovery of one-point perspective he realized that technical advancements in photography can transform social and cultural values by the passage of time. He predicted that in future the person ignorant of writing shall not be categorized as ill-literate but the person who is ignorant of photography Photo grams: In 1920 Moholy-Nagy settled in Berlin and married a Czech lady, Lucia, who was a trained photographer.

Together they worked on the development of photograms, a photographic image made without a camera when objects on coated paper are exposed to light. During the course they also developed photoplastics, fluent, lyrical and curious photomontages, which had enormous influence in the graphic industry of 1960s. , Moholy-Nagy was one of the first designers to realize the potentials and future of photography in the field of advertising and commercial art. (Kaplan, Louis, 90)

Moholy-Nagy continued working with his wife exploring new ideas and trends of photography with manipulating light and mixing them in various fashions and designs to make new images from different compositions of light. During their research and experiments they concluded that with the help of photographic techniques, photographers can achieve non-mechanical visual emotions. Moholy-Nagy’s idea of camera was that it was a device or a graphic tool used to capture the aspects of reality. (Xuered, Micheal, 2) In Berlin, he worked as a movie playwright with Sybil Pietsch.

Later in 190s he married her. Because of the darkening and worse political situation of Germany, both of them travelled to London via the route of Holland. He chose England because of his reading of Voltaire’s Lettres Philosophiques sur les Anglais that convinced him that England was the country where people were granted the freedom of speech. His Publication: In particular for his collaborations with Walter Gropius (his former Bauhaus colleague), Moholy-Nagy is primarily remembered for his work as a photographer, though he considered himself as just a painter.

In 1925, he published a manuscript on Bauhaus camera work “Painting, Photography, Motion Pictures” which recognized his standing. Moholy-Nagy invented the term “Photo sculpture” that described his own works in which he explained that his works were composed of several different photographs. He employed a method for testing simultaneous illustration and compromising penetration of the visual. Camera-less photography is also experimented by Moholy-Nagy, a common trait between Man Ray and him. He had remarkably ground-breaking thoughts about movie and big screen speculation. (Kaplan, Louis, 198)

Conclusion: Abstract photography is an art of photography that proves that there can be pictures of nothing with something to show. The objects and the fundamentals of scale are mislaid in the painting which is abstracted by the photographer. The reality of the portrait is lost into symbols when it comes to abstract art. The idea is that, that the abstracted images can be of something real or just an imagination to convey the message of the artist to the world in an unusual manner. In some cases the portraits have spiritual meanings, giving the idea not about what it is but what it can be.

The theoretical motivation of Moholy-Nagy of 1920s are nevertheless being discovered and inspected. He is considered as the founder of this modern art which is popularly known as abstract art that is the idea of expressing one’s thought in terms of arts and sculptures. References Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy: Experiment in Totality. Published by Harper (1950) Pp. 12 -19 Xuered, Micheal. Abstract Photography. (2007) Retrieved on 28th November ’08 from http://www. michaelxuereb. com/images/Abstract_Photography. pdf Kaplan, Louis. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy: Biographical Writings. Published by Duke University Press (2005). Pp, 1, 2,4,90 and 198


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