The New Vision
eBook - ePub

The New Vision

Fundamentals of Bauhaus Design, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture

László Moholy-Nagy, Daphne M. Hoffmann

  1. 240 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

The New Vision

Fundamentals of Bauhaus Design, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture

László Moholy-Nagy, Daphne M. Hoffmann

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About This Book

One of the most important schools for architecture, design, and art in the 20th century, the Weimar Bauhaus included in its distinguished membership Moholy-Nagy. This book, a valuable introduction to the Bauhaus movement, is generously illustrated with examples of students' experiments and typical contemporary achievements. The text also contains an autobiographical sketch.

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Volume (sculpture)

The general position

In the good middle-class home of yesterday, pictures and statues were obligatory tokens of refinement. Art was envisaged in a purely external way, as the acme of all human attainments—just as technique is today idealized by many people. There was often nothing more behind this attitude than cultural snobbishness. The demand for “art”—just as the soap consumption per capita—became the measuring scale for the cultural standing of the nation. The pictures became actually only enlarged ornaments or illustrated stories, the sculpture for decades cheap plaster casts or bas-reliefs, chiefly trophies of victories in sport.
Public monuments?
The site and the sculptural form—both being dependent on the mercy of politicians and traffic experts.
But whereas many people succeed in slowly establishing some sort of relationship to painting, because of its content and color scheme, sculptural creation stands in peculiar isolation. Most people look at it as outsiders, and cannot imagine it entering into their experience. This is understandable as one can see usually in sculpture only a very poor “story.”
The deep feeling for plastic relationships, their biological and social implications, remain for most people unexplored.
This state of affairs led a whole generation to the rejection of the business of “art.” It explains why the futurists have expressed themselves in the most severe terms against every kind of “empty display.”
This rejection went to extremes, and even denied the justification for any form of pictorial or sculptural expression.

A reaction set in, as soon as it was recognized that the attack was really directed against the hypocritical attitude of society—an attitude which had no bearing upon the existence of the creative worker.

This recognition smoothed the way for a new development, which brought with it a radical alteration of pictorial and sculptural aims. The old concepts of painter or sculptor cracked, since their aims suddenly contained much more than the words had implied in previous use and understanding.6

Fundamental attitudes in treating materials,

Sculpture can be approached from different viewpoints: tool, material, form, volume, size, proportion, positive-negative, setting, expression, etc. The most natural appreciation will come, I think, from the way it is made.

If several people are handed a block of material to be worked on, a piece of wood for example, certain fundamental tendencies will appear in all, in their way of handling the material.

At first the worker respects the homogeneity of the block. He proceeds cautiously with it, almost respectfully. He examines it, feels it all over, estimates its weight, calculates its make-up, its dimensions, and mostly finds it expressive in its living contour, even in the original state.

Then he starts—according to his temperament, in the passive mood of a spectator, or in the active mood of an experimenter—to work on the block with a tool, his purpose at first not being evident, but becoming clearer as he proceeds.

As he goes on, the worker assumes with amazing keenness of interest the role of a passionate and meticulous artisan. He notes the relations between full and empty, between round and angular, dull and sharp, small and large, raised and recessed. He slowly becomes better acquainted with his material and his tools. He invents methods, discovers new implements, dares to proceed more drastically: to make recesses, holes; he penetrates deeper and deeper into the block. In this way negative volumes (“hollow spaces”) are achieved—partly accidentally, and partly consciously. Such an articulation of the means is the basis of all creative work. But to articulate, one must thoroughly know the means. This only can be achieved through practical work.

Hand sculpture

When the student of the New Bauhaus finishes his tactile chart in which he records with his fingertips the different qualities of touch sensation, he has to make a hand sculpture. Through this he registers the functions of the hands to catch, to press, to twist, to feel thickness, to weigh, to go through holes, to use his joints, etc. The result is a manifold one: the student learns more intensively the different materials, he uses more skillfully his tools and machines, and he starts to think in relationships of volumes. These exercises were introduced by Hin Bredendieck with remarkably good results.
Fig. 77. Hand sculptures in different materials (first semester students of the New Bauhaus, 1938).
“What is a shape—or what are several shapes—that feel good, feel comfortable, to the hand? The student experiments with various materials to discover the answer in some material ...

Table of contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Preface
  4. Foreword
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. I - Preliminaries
  8. II - The material (Surface treatment. Painting)
  9. III - Volume (sculpture)
  10. IV - Space (architecture)
  12. Abstract of an Artist:
  13. Dover Books on Art & Art History