Boston Gems #1 – László Moholy-Nagy Light Space Modulator

light space modulator - László Moholy-Nagy
light Space Modulator – László Moholy-Nagy

László Moholy-Nagy’s Light Space Modulator has been part of the permanent collection at Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger since 1956 but due to the fragility of the original the museum has acquired a full-size replica, produced in 2006, which is being showcased as part of the exhibit Light Display Machines: Two Works by László Moholy-Nagy. The replica Modulator has been installed in a darkened gallery so we can experience the shadow, reflection, and light patterns created by its mechanical choreograph. Alongside is Light Play: Black White Gray a film produced from images created by the machine. It can be viewed here.

Moholy-Nagy spent over 10 years working on the piece and said that he believed in magic as a result of being transfixed and entranced by the light modulations and permutations from his machine. Unfortunately also he became equally depressed by the public’s lack of interest in the piece – they preferred his films of the machine instead.

While I was at the museum I did manage to sneak in a short video of the replica device in operation, as well as pictures of the original. Sometime soon expect an upload of the video – in the meantime you can view HC Gilje’s video of another working replica at the Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, Holland.

One Response to “Boston Gems #1 – László Moholy-Nagy Light Space Modulator”

  1. James writes:

    Thanks for posting about this – I live practically next door in Somerville but I wasn’t aware of this at all. Now I can see it before the show closes this Sunday.

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