of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and it would be a mistake to discuss modern painting only in terms of its conception of space, which is merely a specialised aspect of a wider problem, no doubt, the study of light also served to reveal its specific space-time functions, but it is time that we recognised the essentially synthetic qualities of light itself, abstract painting is therefore our starting point, light must inevitably become increasingly prominent as a medium of artistic creation. in our opinion the painters of to-day have an important educational responsibility: for painting proper is a training both for the artist and the public, yet it can be no more than a transitional phase, leading to new and higher forms of expression, the art of the future will be abstract art. the »story« type of films, in vogue at present, for example, will become bointless as soon as the problems of social organisation they deal with have been solved then with other spheres of abstract art - the abstract film will come into its own. that is why the achievements of the pioneers of the abstract film are so important, they point towards the future. moholy's paintings and drawings can be regarded as first sketches for a whole number of abstract films, they might even be looked upon as their essential units (even where they happened to have been oil-paintings originally), the abstract film-artist of to-day can find valuable suggestions not merely in these paintings, but also in a whole new sphere of technical and artistic achievement. thus cameraless photography, the photogramme, announces a new form of abstract film, moholy's photogrammes are sections of abstract films, moholy also raises the problem of reflected light displays, both in the open air and indoors. it is unfortunately true that the problems of abstract art are today still widely misunderstood, abstract art has been put into practice by socialism. we are far from denying the necessity that an active revolutionary art should contribute to the new forms of a new social and economic order, but it must be clearly understood that though art of this type may have propaganda value, it cannot initiate a new period of art, and is only a transient episode. it does not, on the whole, advance the development of art, or at best it only does so indirectly by assisting in bringing about a social change, the future of art lies with the vanguard which today is striving to create new forms of expression, and continuing its experimental work, conscious of its aim and undeterred by technical difficulties. after returning from the ussr mart stam (amsterdam) recounted a characteristic experience of his. he had prepared plans for the construction of the new industrial city magnitogorsk. as usual, the workers had the final word in the matter. »your scheme is excellente, one of them said after prolonged and serious discussion, yet, something is missing, i was once in berlin and walked along the friedrichstrasse at night, you know, the vast facades with their dark shadows set off by coloured illuminated advertisements that was beautiful, and that is what your scheme lacks. »i want to see something of friedrichstrasse in magnitogorsk.« when mart stam told this story his audience smiled, they talked of the reactionary emotions of this russian workman; they said that in spite of the victory of state socialism he was hankering after things he envied in capitalist countries, be that as it may the soviet worker was fully justified. he examined the plans for a new town with their ingenious organisation of dwelling and working areas, and recreational centres. yet his requirements were not fully satisfied by his material needs, the socialist worker wants also to bring his creative arid cultural needs into close connection with them he was ascinated by the effective, but chaotic advertising displays of the friedrichstrasse, because he was instincti vely envisaging light-displays in the open air. naturally a new socialist town can have no use whatever for a pande monium of illuminated advertisements, typical of a capitalist city. but the desire of a people to give vent to its cultural energies, the desire for light displays in the open air, is entirely legitimate and will have to be satisfied, ight displays, as projected by moholy, would immediately assume practical significance under such social conditions, everything suggested by moholy in these pages: the demand for new visual experiences, such as reflected light- rescoes, the need to perfect the technique of flood-lighting, cloud-projection and indoor lighting displays can hardly fail to prove of cardinal importance in the art of the future. the translation by f. d. klingender, london and p. morton shand, london. correction by the english institute, brno. 46

Telehor cs | 1936 | | page 48