Once again we arrive at the end of another year. 2021 was a year replete with contradictions and conflict, tension and turmoil. Two years since the start of the pandemic, a return to normal eludes us.
László Moholy-Nagy came of age during the First World War and launched himself as an artist during the post-War period of cultural ferment that enveloped the Western world. After the Great War finally ended, modernist trends in many fields, whose development the War had stifled, could now flower, and Moholy-Nagy became an active participant in several of them, gradually positioning himself on the cutting edge of art, photography, commercial design, stage and film, and design education. His career path, his artistic production, as well as his personal life, were strongly influenced by large-scale cultural trends and historical events. He was very much a product of the turbulent history of the first half of the 20th century, a period of time that continues to be a subject of deep interest today. For example, the year 2009 was being celebrated in parts of Europe and the United States as the Bauhaus Year. The Bauhaus, Germany’s most famous design school, was founded in Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1919. The widespread and long-lasting influence of the Bauhaus on modern design and design education is impressive, especially because it existed for only 14 years. Moholy-Nagy was appointed a master, or teacher, at the Bauhaus in 1923 and became one of the most enthusiastic proponents of its educational aims and methods. The spotlight that shines upon the Bauhaus also shines upon him. So, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to give you some details about the life and career of László Moholy-Nagy, a modern artist of the twentieth century, which – for many of us – was also our century.