Academic Papers


Seq No



Constructivism and the Form of Light - Moholy-Nagy's Photography

Single/Multiple Authorship


Publisher, Name of journal and volume number

Journal of the Japanese Society for Aesthetics, Vol. 51, No. 2








It can be said that Moholy-Nagy as a constructivist, in connection with the term such as "New Vision" or "New Photography", belonged to the circle of modern formalists in the history of photography. It has always been the abstract-formalist style of his works, as, for example, F. Roh and B. Newhall have pointed out. New research in the last decade, however, has attempted to overcome such a formalist history of Moholy's reception and to clarify what makes Moholy's photography relevant and worthy of discussion even today. My essay belongs to this research direction and has the intention to consider Moholy's photograms, photomontage and camera-photography in the Weimar period from the point of view of "light design" and in the context of the International Constructivism of that time. As a result, Moholy's composition turns out to be filled with dynamic processes, spatial movements and floating relationships. One can see in his photographs dynamism of the big city or something cosmic. Next to contemplation, he placed the activity of the viewer or the construction of subjectivity, which was to be stimulated by the lighting design. In this context, the category "the haptic" or "the kinasthetic" has a central significance for his constructivist art. Moholy's thinking about art thus has essential similarities with the art theory of A. Riegl's theory of art, W. Iser's aesthetics of reception, and M. R. Deppner's attempt to deconstruct constructivism.