Light Display Machines: Two Works by László Moholy-Nagy

, Busch-Reisinger Museum

Busch-Reisinger Museum

This exhibition will showcase the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s newly acquired replica of László Moholy-Nagy’s seminal kinetic sculpture Light Prop for an Electric Stage (1930). Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) was one of the great pioneers of abstract and experimental art of the last century. Commonly known as the Light-Space Modulator, the original work has been in the Busch-Reisinger Museum’s collection since 1956, and is currently on view in its galleries. Extensive changes in the original Light Prop’s materials over the decades and continuing problems with its mechanical engineering mean that the original can no longer give an adequate impression of some of the artist’s intentions. The full-sized and fully functioning 2006 replica will be installed in a darkened gallery with spotlighting that will create a dramatic play of shadows, translucencies, transparencies, and reflections generated by the rotating machine’s multiple surfaces. Moholy-Nagy’s short experimental film Light Play: Black White Gray (1930) will also be shown in the gallery. The artist used the Light Prop as the sole subject of this film’s carefully choreographed sequence of close-ups, double exposures, and special effects.

Organized by Peter Nisbet, Daimler-Benz Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum.