Is there still something new to discover in the year three after the Bauhaus centenary? The Bröhan Museum, Berlin’s state museum for Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Functionalism, says yes – and is presenting the exhibition “Lucia Moholy – The Image of Modernism” from 1 October 2022 to 22 January 2023. Lucia Moholy – wait, so that’s the wife of…? Exactly, and this is where the curators come in. Because the fact that the photographer and publicist is hardly known is, according to the thesis, due to a series of complex political and social circumstances.
Lucia Moholy’s pictures are still being circulated around the world today. With her photographs of the Bauhaus buildings, she shaped the public image of the art school. As a couple, Lucia and László Moholy-Nagy lived at the Bauhaus, where she did important work for the institution itself and many of its artists. The high quality of her photographs, which also owed much to Moholy’s technical expertise, enabled the unprecedented marketing of the Bauhaus idea as a social and aesthetic movement.
However, since Walter Gropius neither employed nor paid her, she was never officially employed at the Bauhaus and could thus easily be “overlooked”. In contemporary publications, her photographs were sometimes published with, sometimes without her name. The joint artistic and theoretical work of the Moholy-Nagy couple was also attributed solely to László after their separation, writes the museum. With her flight from Nazi Germany, one of the best female photographers of German modernism finally largely disappeared from view.
The exhibition at the Bröhan Museum, which shows around 100 photos from private and public lenders as well as selected objects from the Bauhaus period, allows Lucia Moholy to emerge as an artist in her own right. Particular attention is paid to her time in Berlin. In addition to factual photographs of the workshop work and portrait series of Bauhaus teachers and friends, the photographs of the Bauhaus buildings in Dessau are also among the focal points of her work. In the supporting programme, the open photo studio in the exhibition rooms deserves a special mention.
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