Preliminary Course by László Moholy-Nagy


In 1923, after the departure of Johannes Itten, Walter Gropius commissioned the Hungarian universal artist László Moholy-Nagy to continue the preliminary course. Moholy-Nagy, who was also head of the metal workshop, shifted the focus from artistic to technical issues. He wanted to replace romanticism and a sensibility for nature with rationality.

In 1923, the Hungarian Constructivist László Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus Weimar as the youngest master of form, supporting Walter Gropius in his orientation towards the new unity of art and technology. Moholy-Nagy, whose reputation was established by an exhibition at the gallery Der Sturm in Berlin, advocated the idea of the artist-engineer. He was suspicious of anything esoteric or romantic.

As the head of the metal workshop, he promoted modern lighting design and the development of prototypes and therefore the transition from manual craftsmanship to industrial technologies. As the co-organiser and graphic designer of the Bauhaus books from 1924 and the Bauhaus magazine from 1926, Moholy-Nagy had a decisive influence on the international network and image of the Bauhaus.

His universal oeuvre ranged from light, lighting design, photography, photograms and film to kinetic-constructive systems and the Light-Space Modulator. In his opinion, the traditional panel painting was no longer contemporary.

Moholy-Nagy adopted Itten’s teaching method in the preliminary course by asking students to carry out independent studies of material. He did not want to promote the pure individuality of his students, but to systematically introduce them, through a synthesis of the senses, to the technical foundations of statics, dynamics and equilibrium. Moholy-Nagy’s lessons on the surface, or the plane, focused on the medium of collage.