"An experimental masterclass … shows how masters from Man Ray and Mondrian to Maya Rochat transformed reality in their laboratory-like darkrooms and studios" –Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian

Shape of Light tells the intertwined stories of photography and abstract art from the early 20th century to the present day, looking at historic works in a variety of mediums from painting and sculpture to montage and kinetic installations. Beginning with the works of cubism and vorticism, it then highlights the key contributions of Bauhaus, constructivist and surrealist artists of the 1920s and 1930s. From there it proceeds to the "subjective photography" of the 1940s and 1950s, exploring the global scope of this movement through works by artists from Latin America and Asia, before considering the impact of photography on abstract expressionism, op art and minimalism in Europe and the US.

From Man Ray and Alfred Stieglitz to major contemporary artists such as Barbara Kasten and Thomas Ruff, and culminating in extraordinary new work by Antony Cairns, Maya Rochat and Daisuke Yokota, Shape of Light brings to life the innovations of photographers over this period, showing how they responded and contributed to the development of abstraction.