László Moholy – Nagy – collage, ink and watercolour on paper
“The Light Prop for an Electric Stage”, also known as “the Light Space Modulator”, 1929-30, was created by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy to provide lighting effects for plays and other performances. This installation embodies the artist’s aim to introduce kinetic elements “in which the volume relationships are virtual ones” into a work of art. It also sums up well Moholy-Nagy’s interest in the unity of art and technology.
This work was carried out by the artist together with an engineer and a technician and it consisted of a metallic box with a circular opening (stage opening) at its front side and a second board with a parallel circular opening inside the box. On the back of the panel, mounted around the opening, are several multi-coloured electric bulbs, flickering on and off, illuminating the always moving discs and the elements of glass and metal. These, in turn, cast complex shadows on the back wall of the box. The light can also be projected onto a backdrop of any size just removing the back wall.
The goal of Moholy-Nagy was to control the interplay of lights and mechanical motions to create a new perception of space and it seems directly inspired by the text of a poem he wrote: “Light Vision“, which read “Space, time, material – are they one with light?“. The Light Prop ended up being a key work in the history of kinetic art and a strong contribution to the pioneering work of Moholy-Nagy in the perception of space, time and motion.
In 1930 the Light Prop became the centre of the scene in Moholy-Nagy’s experimental short film “Light Play: Black-White-Grey” where the moving geometries of light and shadows of the sculpture create a complex spatially engaging experience. Following is the video and the “Constructivism-inspired” drawing of the Light Prop.
Ein Litchspiel : Schwarz Weiss Grau, 1930.
35mm transfered to digital. Black and white.
Sound added later, 6 minutes
A Lightplay : Black White Grey – Làszló Moholy-Nagy
László Moholy – Nagy – collage, ink and watercolour on paper (Detail)
Light Space Modulator on Art and Electronic Media