Label Text: This collage shows the play of overlapping forms. In the 1920s, Moholy-Nagy was experimenting with abstract geometric shapes. In Germany, he absorbed two theories that would guide the development of abstract art in the 20th century. They asserted that pure geometry could express universal spiritualities (Suprematism) or the dynamism of modern technology (Constructivism). Moholy-Nagy pursued these theories with compositions that balanced opposites such as horizontality and verticality, heaviness and lightness.
At about the time he made this collage, in 1923, the young Hungarian was invited to teach at the influential Bauhaus school in Germany. Ten years later, the Nazi party closed the school. Moholy-Nagy was invited to bring the Bauhaus curriculum to Chicago in 1937, where it continues today as the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
You may notice a stylistic affinity between the geometry of the collage and the architecture of the KIA. Our 1961 building was based on a plan by Mies van der Rohe, former director of the Bauhaus in Germany and first head of architecture at IIT in Chicago. In keeping with Bauhaus philosophy, both artists sought designs of simplicity and clarity that were appropriate for a modern, industrial society.