Biography of László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)

Hungarian photographer born in Bacsborsard (Southern Hungary) and died in Chicago (USA).UU) in 1946.


Considered one of the most innovative and pioneering in some aspects of the photography of the 1920s, Moholy-Nagy was not considered yes same photographer but painter. He/She began his education studying law, but his legal career was interrupted by the outbreak of the first world war, joining in the Austro-Hungarian army. For a short period in a military hospital, in 1915, Moholy made his first drawings to, after the war, dedicate himself to art, leaving the law studies.

It was 1920 settled in Berlin and took contact with the Dadaists and constructivists of the circle "Sturm". There he/she also met Lucia Schulz that he/she married and made interesting photographic experiments, especially its "frames", whose first specimens are from 1922.

The frame was the Supreme expression of a State of mind. Taken by the system to directly arrange the objects on photosensitive paper, frames became something as cult objects, images sacred to the primitivist technology, firstly because they occurred almost entirely by physical and chemical means and, secondly, because they were nature to transmute their own appearance. Instant metamorphosis!, shouted the Surrealists. The frames were compatible with the Bauhaus and, specifically the thought of Moholy, on "a new spatial counterpoint", a concept of the composition of the space that tended to overlap and formal interpenetrations. Its author considered them "objective light paintings", producers of a new pictorial or visual space.

In 1923, Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus of Weimar, taking charge of metal work workshop then move to direct the preparatory course, when his colleague, Johannes Itten, decided to leave the movement. Thus, Hungarian became the representative par excellence of the Bauhaus photography, publishing in 1925 painting, photography, Film, one of the most important of the movement since it was the first text on photography who published the Bauhaus theory. In this work, Moholy-Nagy feels the need to clarify the relationship between painting and photography and establish the boundaries between the two art forms: If painting is a means for him to shape color, photography is an instrument for research and the sunlight exposure. However, the picture is not only a means but a new artistic matter.

The camera became of this merely the most important means of production or embodiment of such images. In the form of typographic design, as a display of theatrical and cinematic scenes and also in both pure formulation of ideas or intentions, photography was important influence. Moholy praised the virtues of the airbrush and camera, and like his contemporaries Russian and Dutch, declared that the painted surface, the personal touch, vestiges of artistic vanity, should be relegated to a second term, if not eliminated completely, in the works of creative design.

He coined the concept of "photoplasticity" decisive in his work, especially in the photo-montages: "... it is the coupling of different photographs, of a (...) methodical attempt of simultaneous representation: superposition of puns and Visual; a strange and unsettling, fusion to imaginary level, more realistic imitative procedures. But they can at the same time telling something, be solid and concrete, more truthful than life itself."

Shows how Moholy, besides an interesting artistic work, left an important theoretical work that reflected his constant concern to achieve that you recognition to photography the condition of genuine artistic means of expression.

After the transfer of the Weimar Bauhaus Dessau in 1926, Moholy taught there for two years, time in which he/she moved to Berlin. In 1929 it was part of the famous exhibition of the Deutsche Werkbund, Film & photography (FIFO) in Stuttgart, where was presented with a collection of 97 photographs, between fotoplasticas and frames. In 1934 he/she moved to Amsterdam and from there went on to settle in London three years later, live in Chicago where he/she became Manager of a design school of the arts and industries Association which he/she called "New Bauhaus". After closing this institution, he/she mounted his own school of design in collaboration with other American artists.

Photographs of Moholy-Nagy are characterized by the strangeness of their points of view, always intending to connotadora: the balconies of the Bauhaus show a deep shot where the human figure seems to pounce on the Viewer. Textures, however, gain in his Photomontages, a deep reflection on the era that had him live: the perspective space disappears, recreating one infinite before the eye of the beholder. Clean spaces, where figures emerge clipped in a non-existent environment created directly with light.

The disruptive spirit pervaded all his work but, above all, its frames, universes of reverie, where forms waged a tremendous battle with structures, where the "rotation space spiral", is an immense black background with a white circle and two characters floating in an invented space. Decidedly, photography has abandoned its need to capture a reality 'real' to capture an "intellectual" reality, the Moholy-Nagy.


Sougez, Marie-Loup: History of photography. Madrid. Chair. 1985 2nd Edition.