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© 2014 Estate of László Moholy-Nagy / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

László Moholy-Nagy
American, Paris, 1925
Gelatin silver print
14 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.

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Here László Moholy-Nagy transformed muddy water rushing into a street drain into a study of light and texture. A strip of fabric that diverts water into the drain becomes a slashing diagonal line in the upper center, while the drain itself is transformed into a perforated rectangle reflecting light from its shimmering, soaked surface. Water seemingly flows in every direction as the layers of water and ground are compressed into a two-dimensional space.

This image was made during a summer visit to Paris, but Moholy Nagy's unique vision incorporated none of the Parisian landmarks or pictorial elements that dominated the work of most photographers in that city.