Circles, triangles and squares cut from stencils move to the beat of the music and merge into one another. Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack developed his Reflecting Light Games at the Bauhaus in Weimar. They are among the abstract modern experiments of the early Weimar State Bauhaus.

Portrait of Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (detail from a photo), photo: Carl Schlemmer or Sandor Bortnyik, 1923, reproduction. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © unknown.
Portrait of Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack (detail from a photo), photo: Carl Schlemmer or Sandor Bortnyik, 1923, reproduction. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © unknown.

Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack initially completed a craftsman apprenticeship at his father’s leather goods factory before he began artistic training at the Teaching and Experimental Studios for Applied and Free Art of Hermann Obrist and Wilhelm von Debschitz in Munich in 1912. He enrolled at the University of Munich and attended lectures in art history by Heinrich Wölfflin and Fritz Burger. However, in 1919 he switched to Stuttgart and studied at the Art Academy with Adolf Hölzel (colour theory) and Ida Kerkovius. He became an apprentice at the State Bauhaus in Weimar that same year. Following attendance of the preliminary course taught by Johannes Itten, he became an apprentice for art print in the printing workshop with Lyonel Feininger. In 1920, he successfully passed his journeyman’s examination at the Chamber of Crafts in Weimar. Outside of the official Bauhaus curriculum, he organised a colour seminar in 1922–1923. Important testimonies to these teaching activities are the colour modulator that he developed and the pedagogical dollhouse. In 1923, he developed the idea of the colour-light play. Hirschfeld-Mack stayed at the Bauhaus until the winter semester of 1924–1925. When he was fully trained, he worked in the paying function of staff journeyman in 1925 and had the assignment of mediating between the master of form and the master of works in the printing workshop.

After the closure of the Bauhaus in Weimar, he first worked as an art educator at the Free School Community of Wickersdorf until 1929. Starting in 1928, he also taught the theory of colour and form at the State Academy for Crafts and Architecture in Weimar. Between 1930 and 1935, Hirschfeld-Mack accepted various teaching assignments and taught at places such as the Pedagogical Academy in Frankfurt/Oder, the Pedagogical University in Kiel and the Jöde School and Günther School in Berlin. In order to explore the possibility of emigration to England, Hirschfeld-Mack temporarily left Berlin in 1936. He was able to teach at various schools in England until 1940 as an art educator. The British deported him to Australia as an 'enemy alien' that same year. In 1942, he acquired Australian citizenship and worked at the Geelong Church of England Grammar School until his retirement.

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin (1987): Bauhaus, Sammlungskatalog, 3rd Edition, Berlin, p. 26.
Hapkemeyer, Andreas & Peter Stasny (2000): Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack. Bauhäusler und Visionär, Ostfildern-Ruit.