László Moholy-Nagy's Light Space Modulator represents the most significant expression of his pursuit of dynamism in art.
In The New Vision, he describes his device, constructed between 1922-1930, as ...a mobile sculpture driven by an electric motor...most of the moving shapes were transparent, through the use of plastics, glass, wire-mesh and lattice-work and perforated metal sheets.
Like the earlier experimental kinetic sculptures of Russian Constructivists Naum Gabo and Anton Pevsner, as well as Bauhaus associate, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Moholy's concern was that his apparatus should not be confined to the static and three-dimensional, but should incorporate a "fourth dimension" of time and motion. The Modulator was not, therefore, to be considered an art object per se, but a means of transforming static perspective vision into a luminous motion study.
Moholy's device (or Lichrequisit, as he termed it), represented only part of a more ambitious kinetic artwork. Contained within an illuminated box with an opening to permit the projection of light displays on a screen or upon a stage, it became a stage prop or an experimental apparatus for "painting with light."
The device, driven by a motor and equipped with 128 electric bulbs in different colors, was finally demonstrated at the 1930 Paris Werkbund exhibition and was recorded in his short film, Light Display Black-White-Gray of the same year. Lot 82 is a still from this film.
Moholy's device was clearly a labor of love that informed his entire artistic output. In The New Vision he states, For almost ten years I planned and battled for the realization of this mobile [and] learned much...for my later painting, photography and motion pictures, as well as for architecture and industrial design.
The still functional Light Space Modulator is now in the collection of Harvard University's Busch-Reisinger Museum, while other period photographs of the device are held by the J. Paul Getty Museum.