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1922 __ Telephone Paintings
László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)
Comment : The first proposal for telephone art was made by Dadaists in Berlin (The Dada-Almanach) two years before ‘Telephone Paintings” by László Moholy-Nagy, but it was not realized. The proposal was to order an artisan to make a picture via telephone. In 1922, László Moholy-Nagy orders by telephone from a sign factory five paintings in porcelain enamel. The precise position of the shapes is transmitted by using graph paper (like a bitmap grid) and the factory's color chart. (Miya Yoshida)The telephone pictures would be the connecting, and consequently, the disconnecting link between László Moholy-Nagy and his passing away into anonymity. From dictating to dispatching and transmitting signals, with the dispensing of the author, the Romantic conception of the artist has been put at risk. Smoothly, facilely, with the greatest of ease, the telephone has turned Moholy into an operator for feeds and feedback. The concepts of the creative genius and original artist have also been put into question. [...] With the gesture of the dialing or button pushing hand that generates art by telephone, it is the impersonality and anonymity of the language machine or of the telephone machine which has gone into a remote-control reproduction. (Louis Kaplan).
Original excerpt : « In 1922 I ordered by telephone from a sign factory five paintings in porcelain enamel. I had the factory’s color chart before me and I sketched my paintings on graph paper. At the other end of the telephone, the factory supervisor had the same kind of paper, divided into squares. he took down the dictated shapes in the correct position. (It was like playing chess by correspondence.) ... Thus, these pictures did not have the virtue of the “individual touch”, but my action was directed exactly against this overemphasis. I often hear the criticism that because of this want of the individual touch, my pictures are “intellectual”. » (László Moholy-Nagy)
Source : Yoshida, Misha, “THE INVISIBLE LANDSCAPES, A curatorial project and a comparative study on concepts of intimacy in mobile telephony”.
Source : Kaplan, Louis (1995), “László Moholy-Nagy - Biographical Writings”, Duke University Press, p. 122.
Source : Moholy-Nagy, László (1928), “The New Vision, , from Material to Architecture : Fundamentals of Bauhaus Design, Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture” or “The New Vision and Abstract of an Artist”, Translated by Daphne M. Hoffman, 4th rev., ed. New York: Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc., 1947; and New York, Dover, 2005, pp. 79-80.
Urls : http://www.khm.lu.se/pdf/Yoshida_All.pdf (last visited ) http://www.dextersinister.org/MEDIA/PDF/HangingUpMoholy.pdf (last visited )

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