180110: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt: László Maholy-Nagy – Retrospective

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt: László Maholy-Nagy – Retrospective Departure into the modern media world Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s constructivist compositions consisting of compatible dynamic circles and beams are leitmotifs of Modernism. His significant typographies represent the spirit of optimism of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1947) is among the few who influenced the visual relevance of culture during the Weimar Republic. His concepts played a key role for the understanding of current media art - something that is often considered to be of secondary importance. Particular importance of the Lászlo Moholy-Nagy retrospective presented at the Frankfurt Schirn Hall is laid on accentuating the universal artistic production and trans-medial thinking of the Bauhaus protagonists. His concepts, which aimed at penetrating spatial dimensions, are in the forefront of the media avant-garde, in line with those by representatives of abstract and experimental film such as Dziga Vertov, Oskar Fischinger or Len Lye. Elements of reconstruction, sketches, and photos of stage scenery, shown in the documentary part of the exhibition at the Frankfurt Schirn, lead into his world of spatial constructions. But Lászlo Moholy-Nagy’s ideas went far beyond the categories of traditional theatre. His involvement with topographies, with the relationship of objects to one another and with light finally leads to the development of a multimedia environment. His “Light-Space-Modulator” (1930) can be interpreted as a mechanical anticipation of projections in the spheres of digital culture. His “Light requisite for electric stages” (1930) also points in this direction. The actual take-off into the era of media art started with his “Telephone Picture EM1” (1922). It was developed in (almost) real time: during a telephone conversation with the department head of a sign factory, who transferred colour patterns on graph paper following Moholy’s directions. One year later, in 1923, Walter Gropius appointed him as Johnannes Itten’s successor to the state-owned Weimar Bauhaus where he promoted photography and later also in Dessau. During that time, the at first 'only' verbal atrocities spewed by the Nazis turned into physical ones. While in Italy representatives of the futuristic avant-garde such as Marinetti collaborated with fascists, and even in Germany some Bauhaus artists were indifferent or even affirmative towards National Socialism, László Moholy-Nagy, who was Jewish, emigrated via Amsterdam and London to Chicago and then to New York. The exhibition at the Frankfurt Schirn Kunsthalle impressively revives the moments of intellectual awakening in his oeuvre. By Roland Schöny Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg, until 07.02.2010 http://www.schirn.de

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60311 Frankfurt am Main, Römerberg
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