The Bauhaus remains one of the defining art, architecture and design hot-beds of the 20th century; so much so that it is astonishing to think that it celebrates its centenary this year. Founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in Weimar, but sadly with only a short life, being closed down in 1933 as ‘degenerate’, many of the most influential modernist 20th century architects, designers and artists studied or worked there, including László Moholy-Nagy who was a Professor from 1923 to 1928, after which he left to set up his own studio in Berlin. During his period at the Bauhaus he had a fascination with photography and the photogram as a 2oth century art form, believing that the camera could see a different world to the human eye.
One of his most famous works was the Lichtrequisit einer elektrischen Bühne (Light Prop for an Electric Stage) (1928-1930), a metal and plexiglass sculpture moving parts through which light was projected to create a variety of different shadows and shapes on adjacent walls and surfaces. Designed with the help of the Hungarian architect Istvan Seboek for the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Paris in 1930; it is claimed to be one of the earliest modern kinetic and light sculptures.
Here it is, alongside a video of the images created, as part of Hauser & Wirth’s exhibition of his work to celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus, showing how his work linked with the Dada and Constructivist movements, embracing painting, photography, collage, sculpture and film, with the odd surprise such as his free-flowing portrait of an unknown woman from 1917.
All of which raises an obvious question – why is the centenary of the Bauhaus not being celebrated more widely, for example at Tate Modern?