Urban life moves in milliseconds that it is impossible to capture and freeze even for a minute. However, Hungarian born and Berlin based artist, Adam Magyar has perfected bending the conventions of time and distilled images that are captured in perpetuity with his latest show Kontinuum which opened last February 12th. AF came to be suspended in his creative realm of captured urban reality.
In New York City there are moments and flashes of life that are gone in a blink of an eye and once it passes, you’ll never get to see it. Big cities have the prevailing culture and convention that things have to continually move or it stifles the rhythm of the metropolis. Magyar has spent countless hours in many cities to capture the moments that we all miss. In-between times occur when commuting in public transportation such as trains and that morning walk of worker drones off to another numbing day. The show featured videos, still images and prints capturing the urban dweller in between times.
Utilizing industrial equipment and software to convey his vision of this hidden moment in the urban world that Magyar created stark beautiful images as layered and texturally diverse which made them captivating. His six new videos were made using a high speed industrial video camera that can make a twelve second moment stretched out to twelve minutes of visual poetry or a slow moving ballet. The proximity of seeing close detail and every expression in the dark room along with other videos playing with the hum of an ambient noise track made for a cocoon that’s Zen-like. The contrast in having a meditative moment to tap into yourself occurs while there are hundreds of people captured in film surrounding you. Magyar is insightful to realize and illustrate that despite being forced into close proximity and moving with hundreds of people, one can still feel the loneliest soul out there. That is the beautiful irony and pathos that reverberates in the city.
The still photographs of trains coming into the station was done with an industrial camera using advanced software to capture the swift energy of the train but locking in the human detail inside it. There is always that fascination when you ride a subway train and another train rolls by that you take in the interior to watch the faces of people inside the other train car. It is absorbing a slice of life in motion that is amazing yet fleeting. Once the train passes by, the magic is gone and done for that split second. Magyar managed to capture that moment and hold a speeding train into the deep recesses of your mind’s eye.
More images are captured with pedestrians in mid-motion as they all walk into the melee of daily city life. He captured the image for this series with a homemade still scan camera where the individuals are in symphony with wide berth of a scene that he managed to capture. You will notice the congruent lines that might as well be the illustration of the drone like hum that is the beat of a city and suddenly the slash of people providing the staccato and melody that colors the urban landscape. The feet are distorted into hooves or sharp points as the crowd teems towards its aimless destination. Following the herd takes on a whole new meaning when you look at these images. Magyar makes a frank observation and visual statement with these still scan pictures. It is his way of seeing the world at one wide glance and we are so fortunate that he’s shared it with us.
Overall what Magyar does to suspend time and stretch it out for us is a generous gift from the artist. He gives us the times we have missed and neglected then made it into something so beautiful, haunting and sobering in one broad stroke. Life is what happens when you are way too busy making your way through it. Magyar snipped a thread of that moment, stretched it out and weaved a tapestry of urban life. After all, people build cities and that is one continuous fact that will never change.
Please view the following links to the work of Adam Magyar:
https://vimeo.com/91889750: Array, 2014 (Seoul) video, 10 min. 10 sec. edition of 3
https://vimeo.com/83664407: 42nd Street, 2013 video, 10 min. 49 sec. edition of 3
https://vimeo.com/83663312: Alexanderplatz, 2011 video, 24 min. 48 sec. edition of 3
There will also be an event at the gallery: Conversation between Adam Magyar and Andrew Zolli, Saturday, March 28th, 2 pm.
Adam Magyar: Kontinuum / On View: February 12 – April 4, 2015
Gallery Hours: Tue – Fri (10 am to 6 pm) & Sat (11 am to 6 pm)
Julie Saul Gallery. 535 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor. NYC, NY 10011
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography by: Olya Turcihin