Color–Light–Plays

Hirschfeld Mack strip.jpg

While a student at the Bauhaus, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack developed equipment to produce experiments with Farblichtspiele (Color-Light-Plays, c. 1924) on continuous film. In Malerei Photographie Film (Painting, Photography, Film, 1925), Bauhaus Master László Moholy-Nagy lauded this work for its ingenuity and potential to change our perception:

He was the first to reveal the profusion of the most delicate transitions and unexpected variations of coloured planes in motion. A movement of planes, prismatically controllable, which dissolves, conglomerates… The establishment of a new space-time dimension of radiating light and controlled movement becomes ever clearer in his spinning and plunging bands of light.

Later in the same text, Moholy-Nagy summed up the contrast between the objectives of painting as the manipulation of tensions in static equilibrium with his contrasting zeal for kinetic light displays:

The essence of the reflected light play is the production of light-space-time tensions in colour and chiaroscuro harmonies and (or) in various forms by kinetic means, in a continuity of motion : as an optical passage of time in a state of equilibrium.

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