László Moholy-Nagy Construction AL6 1933–4

László Moholy-Nagy
Construction AL6 1933–4
IVAM, Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Generalitat Valenciana

In 1934 Moholy left Germany, first for the Netherlands, then London. Joining his old friend Walter Gropius, Moholy soon made contact with leading British modernists, including Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth.

It was a period of continuous experimentation and innovation for Moholy. He began to paint on newly developed synthetic supports such as Rhodoid, Galalith and Perspex as well as on shiny metals such as polished aluminium. Building on his experiences with the Light Prop, he introduced movement into his paintings by mounting painted sheets of Perspex at some distance from a painted support and incorporating the resulting play of shadows and reflections into the final composition.

While living in England, Moholy was also commissioned to take photographs for three book projects: The Street Markets of London 1936 by Mary Benedetta, An Oxford University Chest 1938 by John Betjeman, and Eton Portrait 1937 by Bernard Fergusson. The resulting images reveal a remarkable change in his photographic sensibility, trading the dramatic perspectives of the Bauhaus years for a more neutral documentary approach.

Moholy’s commercial work always formed an integral part of his artistic vision and represents one of the ways that he created a dialogue between the fine arts and the world at large. In London, he created a visual language for the Underground and Imperial Airways, driving forces in the modernisation of the city.