Moholy Nagy: The Shape of Things to Come

As one of the most influential members of the legendary Bauhaus, László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) believed that the language of abstraction could affect a transcendence of the dystopic reality embodied by the two World Wars, in favour of a futuristic vision of the world made anew as “the shape of things to come.” The Santa Barbara Museum of Art traces the work of the late visionary precisely starting from his desire to shape a new, utopian world in an exhibition that focuses on little known paintings – “The Paintings of Moholy Nagy: The Shape of Things to Come”.

Painting, and not just the newer reproductive technologies of photography or film to which he is mostly linked, remained an important medium for the artist, as is explored in this exhibition of 33 works of art ranging in date from the 1920s to 1940s, including paintings, works on paper, photograms, video projections, and a facsimile replica of Moholy’s prescient Light Prop, one of the first kinetic sculptures of its kind. The captivating installation highlights the seamlessness with which Moholy moved between painting, photography, three-dimensional sculpture, and so-called light sculptures.

From a modern facsimile of Light Prop for an Electrical Stage, a project Moholy worked on obsessively, that is now recognized as a pioneering example of kinetic sculpture to painting-sculpture hybrids made of newly developed thermoplastics, made to activate the viewer and reveal new capacities of colour photographic reproduction, “The Paintings of Moholy Nagy: The Shape of Things to Come” offers a glimpse of Moholy’s prescient anticipation of a dystopic, technologically redefined world unmoored from nature that we, perhaps, live in today. The exhibition will remain on show until 27th September 2015 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Santa Barbara Museum of Art