Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu

"light" Tag

Moholy-Nagy’s Photograms

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



László Moholy-Nagy was born in 1895 in Hungary. Here he started painting around 1918. Around this period he also moved to Berlin to develop his talent.
Besides painting and photography Moholy-Nagy also made during his life a lot of other art in which he often involved light as a media. He made sculptures, collages, films, graphic design and even more different work.
Here below you see some of his early paintings.

In 1923 Moholy-Nagy became a teacher at the Bauhaus School in Weimar after he got to know Walter Gropius; the man behind the Bauhaus.
The school had a total new way of teaching. Students had the possibility to work with a lot of different materials and were stimulated in there independency and personal development. Information Bauhaus (dutch) or (english)

It was when Moholy-Nagy became a teacher at the Bauhaus that he started experimenting with typography and photography as well. When Moholy-Nagy later moved to the VS, he there started the New Bauhaus in Chicago and continued his experiments with film and photography.


Moholy-Nagy believed in art as part of a lifestyle. A collective mentality in which art, together with other aspects of life come together as a ‘gesamtwerk’.

He was convinced of the forming function of art. He saw the ideal society as one in which everybody is practicing art. This would lead -so he thought- to an improved society. He joined the group MA, which believed in the revolutionary potential of art. more on his theory and himself

the photogram

A photogram is a print of something that lies on light sensitive material and then get’s lightened. In other words: A photogram is a form of photography without the use of a camera.

This is, I think, very interesting.
To me it’s fascinating to see the direct forms of a device on paper. It makes in a way the distance between you and the subject on the photo smaller. And the realism of a photo bigger.
So what you see is exactly what it is.

Moholy-Nagy tried a lot of different things. For example the experiments with the light from different angles. And also many try-outs with different types of material; in special the transparent materials.

The  photogram’s of Moholy-Nagy are often abstract but not always. Lazslo worked with figurative images in the photogram as well. He build figurative images out of form or/and made use of the negatives of other photo’s.
But just to give a little bit more information about the history of the photogram because you might find this interesting (as well as I do) I’ll give you some more facts;
– The first illustrated book containing photogram’s dates from 1843, from Anna Atkins. Not so long after the invention of photography itself.
– In the early twenties there was a lot of experimenting done with the photogram. Notably by Christian Schad and Man Ray.
– from the moment Moholy-Nagy discovers the Photogram (around the time he started teaching at the Bauhaus) he continuously produces them until his death.


After visiting the exhibition Moholy-Nagy “Art of Light” and seeing all his work paintings, films, objects, collages and a huge number of photograms, I became really interesting in them. By reading about Lazslo and looking at his work I found out that there is so much more to learn about him and this time, which I think will inspire me to design and create more photo’s for myself. Especially in relation to the philosophy of Moholy-Nagy about photography. This because I agree with him about how to make use of black and white and composition in photo’s. Over-thinking the work of Moholy-Nagy resulted into an eye opener into the possibilities of photograms or making use of light in art.

some other sources:
Moholy-Nagy: The Photograms, catalogue raisonné published by Hantje Cantz / The Art of Light exhibition cataloque(fotogrammen)
Biography Lazslo Moholy-Nagy [Rietveld Library].
general information on photograms
How to make a photogram

Thinking out of the white cube

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Parooldriehoek is a triangular piece of land, somewhere in Amsterdam-Oost. A piece of land with little character, between the busy Wibautstraat and the train tracks. I hadn’t really ever noticed this plot, and I started to wonder why. It’s not that I never pass through that part of the city; I visit the adjacent club Trouw regularly. Maybe that’s the problem.

Every time I’m there, it’s night. And there’s not very much to see there during the day, let alone during the night. It’s a very dark and uninviting piece of land. Some even say they feel uneasy walking in the area after dark and that is where I could change something.

I was going to give the city something to be proud of, and I was going to make this little triangle memorable and comforting. I wanted not only to make the outside a part of the interior (much like Gerrit Rietveld himself used transparency whilst designing buildings) but I also wanted the surroundings to be affected positively by the presence of a new building. I wanted to make this a place people wanted to visit instead of wanting to avoid it.

With this in mind, I designed a glass library, a place that hides nothing in the dark, but shows everything. Just like the inspiring architecture of Rietveld’s academies. Two fine examples (one in Amsterdam and the other in Arnhem) of how a construction of steel and glass can give a large building a very light aesthetic. Two buildings from which the outside and inside are of great influence on each other.


the cleaning of the Rietveld pavilion

Monday, November 16, 2009

At March 16th 1992, Cornelia, Jane, Greetje, en Weimpje Koelewijn Vermeer cleaned the pavilion of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

the soberness and functionality of Rietveld

the neatness and the costume of the women from Spakenburg


space – light – color.

a women that cleans will not lose her morality.

Job Koelewijn, Winner of the Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Art (2006) talks.
photo’s by Erik van de Boom, reprinted from Rietveld Publication no 76

Get used to see the shoe on the other foot

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What is slow? We can always be slow in reference to something
which is faster. Is life fast or slow? It depends how you see it.
I would like to bring your attention to noticing things. Generally we always notice something faster before than something slower. Get used to see the shoe on the other foot, get used to perceive slowness. If life seems too fast for you, give yourself some time. For example every day before going to work, wake up a little earlier and take some time for making yourself a nice breakfast. Be slow, enjoy the activity. Take your time for eating that, feel the taste and smell of your meal. Fix the mind on your food. Look out of the window, see what morning brings. Notice the details. Take a walk when you’re going to somewhere. Breath, be aware of doing that. Notice other people around you – Who is she? Where she’s going to? What she’s thinking of? Concentrate. You are surrounded by details, find them, play with them. Be interested in things.
Notice sun, notice rain, notice snow. Give yourself some time to notice!

Log in