Moholy-Nagy - Leda and the Swan, 1946 © DACS 2004 Constantin Brancusi - Bird in Space, 1926-27 © DACS 2004


: Brancusi, Gabo, Moholy-Nagy

17 January - 14 March 2004


We cannot measure or define space with solid masses, we can only define space with space.
Naum Gabo

I make 'Light Compositions' in which light is controlled as a new plastic material, like colour in painting or notes in music.
László Moholy-Nagy

But sculpture is water, just water.
Constantin Brancusi

The dematerialisation of the solid world has been a pre-occupation of Western artists from Impressionism, through Cubism to the present day. Immaterial will explore the aspiration of three modernist artists of Eastern European origins, Constantin Brancusi, Naum Gabo and László Moholy-Nagy, to 'dematerialise' the sculptural object.

In their various ways these artists sought to replace mass and weight by light, space, time: Gabo and Moholy-Nagy through the use of new materials and movement; Brancusi through reflective surfaces, the sense of vertical leap and rotating bases.

Immaterial will include sculpture, graphic works, photographs, photograms and film. It will look in particular at the interplay between sculpture and photography, going back to the photographic portrayal of Rodin's sculptures which sometimes take on the air of 19th century 'spirit' photography. Brancusi's own photographs, seen here in original, vintage prints, have his sculptures exploding and dissolving in light. Also included are Moholy-Nagy's photograms and film Lightplay -black-white-grey (Lichtspiel: schwarz-weiss-grau) deriving from his kinetic sculpture, the Light Space-Modulator. Gabo's previously unseen experiments with photographing moving light are strongly reminiscent of his sculptural forms.

The exhibition was devised and selected by Sebastiano Barassi (Curator of Collections at Kettle's Yard) and Michael Harrison (Director). A well illustrated catalogue included essays by Sebastiano Barassi, Christina Lodder and Martin Hammer, and Geraldine Johnson.