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March 16–July 25, 2004 at the Getty Center

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Moholy-Nagy - Created a new type of abstraction with projected and scattered light.
Interactive: How do you make a photograph without a camera?

In photography we possess an extraordinary instrument for reproduction. But photography is much more than that. Today it is [a method for bringing optically] something entirely new into the world.
—László Moholy-Nagy

From 1923 to 1928 László Moholy-Nagy taught at the Bauhaus, the famed German school of art and design, where his inventive ideas influenced many future artists. He proposed that photography be part of the curriculum there and encouraged students to exploit the medium's potential for new types of images. By eliminating all references to natural forms, Moholy-Nagy produced many abstract photographs, exploring the purely formal relationships among light, color, and form.

Moholy-Nagy created nonfigural images like this one by projecting and scattering light. These photograms—a photograph produced without a camera or lens—are literally streams of light and shadow that have been harnessed and composed. Moholy-Nagy was fascinated by "How the light flows in tracks and what becomes of the whole has nothing to do anymore with the original material."

View a brief biography and other works by this artist in the Getty online collections.

Related Bookstore item:
In Focus: László Moholy-Nagy
Photogram 1 Mirror / Moholy-Nagy