Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts opens in Winnipeg
The exhibition Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts, curated by Dr. Oliver A.I. Botar, opened at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on March 7, 2014 with some 500 people in attendance. The inaugural weekend of the exhibition was marked with a Friday evening opening reception; a Saturday panel discussion with the curator and academics Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Annemarie Jaeggi, and Andreas Hug; and a talk entitled “Building the Bauhaus Archive: From Gropius to SANAA” by Annemarie Jaeggi at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Botar’s tour of the show the Saturday following was very well attended, and he will offer such tours over the course of its run in Winnipeg.
Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts considers the impact of technology today by exploring how it was addressed in the practice of the Hungarian polymath artist László Moholy-Nagy (1895 – 1946), a key ﬁgure in the history of Modernism. Moholy-Nagy is known for his work in traditional media such as painting and sculpture, but also in less conventional forms such as photography and ﬁlm, as well as commercial ﬁelds like stage and exhibition design, typography, and advertising. His most original contributions are his speculations and experiments in new media such as light art, kinetic art, sound art, multi-media, expanded cinema, television, and immersive-participatory installations. Underlying all of these practices was a Utopian belief in the social utility of art and education. The exhibition is organized around some of Moholy-Nagy’s key themes: New Vision, sensory training, technology/modernity, production/reproduction, immersion/participation, art as information/information as art, and transparency/reﬂection/motion. Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts combines historical artworks with works by contemporary artists from Canada, Europe and the United States who have been invited to respond to these themes. Artists featured, both contemporary and historical, include Eduardo Aquino; the team of Nike Arnold; Andreas Haus; Aline Helmcke; Frédéric Krauke and Walter Lenertz; Naomi Clare Crellin; Lancelot Coar; Olafur Eliasson; Oskar Fischinger; Ken Gregory; Patrick Harrop; the team of Gottfried Jäger and Karl Martin Holzhäuser; Eduardo Kac; György Kepes; the team of Jörg U. Lensing, Gudula Schröder, Jürgen Steger, Thomas Neuhaus, Malou Airaudo and Sascha Hardt; Erika Lincoln; Norman McLaren; the team of Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Bob Kotyk and Ryan Simmons; Bernie Miller; Lucia Moholy; Francisco Javier Navarro de Zuvillaga; Freya Olafson; István Sebök; and Peter Yeadon.
Sensing the Future features many works on loan from the Salgo Trust for Education. Textual documents, including historical journals, exhibition catalogues and books contribute to a rich picture of Moholy-Nagy’s conceptual and practical development. The Salgo Trust for Education has contributed Moholy-Nagy’s captivating 16 mm black and white film, Lichtspiel: schwarz-weiss-grau [Lightplay: black, white, grey] of 1931. Also on loan are two films by Moholy-Nagy featuring students of the Chicago Institute of Design and three 16 mm black and white films of the late 1920s and early 1930s by the artist: Marseille vieux port, Berliner Stilleben and Grosstadtzigeuner. A focus of the exhibition is Moholy-Nagy’s important painting Architektur I or Konstruktion auf blauem Grund [Construction on blue ground] from the collection of The Salgo Trust for Education.
Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media and the Arts closed at Plug In on June 2, 2014. It is widely considered to have been one of the most successful exhibitions at Plug In ICA in recent memory. It will open at the Bauhaus-Archiv – Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin on October 7, 2014 and will remain open until 12 January 2015. Dr. Oliver Botar will hold a number of special tours the week of the opening, as well as a lecture on the exhibition at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin on December 5, 2014. Published by Lars Müller Publishers in Zurich, a 192-page book with around 400 illustrations, mostly in colour, will appear in both German and English editions in time for the Berlin opening. (OB/BJS)