Licht-Raum Modulator

  • (1922-1930) replica 1970
  • László Moholy-Nagy
  • metal, wood, glass, electromotor
  • 201,7 x 78,8 x 69,7 cm (incl. houten ombouw / wooden casing)
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1971
  • Inventory number 341

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The 'Licht-Raum-Modulator' by László Moholy-Nagy, an artist originating from Hungary, consists of various elements. The most eye-catching element is a round plateau with geometric forms made of different materials attached to it. These shapes are set in motion by a system of cogs and a chain which connects the plateau to an electric motor in a metal case. The geometric shapes on the plateau are divided into three sectors, with the main forms of a rectangle, a circle and a diagonal. Moholy-Nagy mainly used transparent and reflecting materials. The whole work is illuminated by lamps, creating a very varied pattern of light and shade on the floor, the walls and the ceiling of the space where the work is exhibited.

In the early 1920s, Moholy-Nagy moved from Hungary to Berlin, where he came into contact with representatives of Futurism, Constructivism and Dada, schools in which movement and machines played an important role. The combination of art and technology was also a central concept in the Bauhaus, where Moholy-Nagy lectured from 1923 to 1928, and this work also dates from that period. The idea of a machine as a work of art is based on the wish not to consider art and technology as separate disciplines which are actually opposites. There was a belief in art which did not exist alongside life, but was part of it, following the pattern of life at the same time as determining its design. This explained the interest in and use of modern industrial materials and technology.

The 'Licht-Raum-Modulator' is a work of art and a machine at the same time. The theatrical aspect which is created when the machine is put into operation extends far beyond its technical operation alone. As the title indicates, light changes and modulates the space. The work does not consist only of the tangible object, but just as much of the elements which cannot be captured such as movement, light, shadow and reflection.

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