We used the camera only as a means of expression and as a visual medium that offers possibilities found in no other artistic technique, possibilities that the eye cannot catch in their totality. We tried to establish a characteristic vision of photography.
Piet Zwart trained as an architect and designer. He turned to photography and inspired by László Moholy-Nagy and his modernist experiments at the Bauhaus, pioneered the New Objectivity movement in the Netherlands, where most photographers were still working in a pictorialist manner. In 1929 he and a few other modernist Dutch photographers exhibited in the Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart.
Bauhaus works shown there impressed Zwart and he made this tribute to the German design school that year. In 1931 he was able to travel to Dessau and spend a year as guest lecturer at the Bauhaus. He wrote extensively, stressing photography’s importance in social life and as a tool in scientific investigation.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010