New East Digital Archive

Born today: celebrate the work of Hungarian Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy

20 July 2016

Born in Borsod, a small village in southern Austria-Hungary, László Moholy-Nagy (1985-1946) would have been 121 today, though no one can deny that he accomplished many artistic endevours during his lifetime.

A prolific painter, photographer, designer, filmmaker and theorist, Hungarian-born Moholy-Nagy defied categorisation and was ahead of his time with his experimentation with cutting-edge technology, producing paintings by phone and taking photos without a camera.

He first pursued art after serving as artillery officer in the Austro-Hunagrian army left him with an injury, and was greatly influenced by Dada and Constructivist artists he met moving to Berlin in the 1920s. Furthermore, he collaborated with celebrated figures in art and design such as architect Walter Gropius and De Stijl group.

A highly influential artist, he taught at Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau, then heading the New Bauhaus: American School of Design (now known as Institute of Design) in Chicago in the late 30s, and is best known for pioneering the adaptation of technology and in doing so redefining the role of the artist.

Many of his paintings, sculptures, collages, drawings, prints, films, photograms, photographs, photomontages, projections, documentation, and examples of graphic, advertising, and stage design are currently on display at an exhibition dedicated to the artist, entitled Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York until 7 September.