Adam Magyar: Kontinuum, Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Experimental video and still photography artist, Adam Magyar is now showing for the first time outside of Europe and Asia, with various works including six videos, images from his Stainless series, and new prints from the Urban Flow series.

A Hungarian born and Berlin based artist, Magyar photographs people all over the world in urban environments: commuting on trains, walking through rush hour, capturing the busy periods in which we fail to notice, and value, our surroundings. So far, Magyar has captured city workers in Berlin, Shanghai, Tokyo, Beijing, Mumbai, New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong and Rome.

His works reduce the individual to one of many, often appearing as tiny ants in a vast cityscape as Magyar bends conventional representations of time and space with the shutter of his camera: seconds stretch into minutes, or incredibly brief instances are frozen eternally. To do so, Magyar cannot use conventional equipment so has developed specialist tools to manifest his visions: technical preparation is long, and is always undergoing further refinement.

The three distinct formats exhibited here have been used by Magyar for several years, and yet are still subject to distillation and polish. His video works, firstly, are captured with a high-speed industrial video camera which has been adapted so that it takes – with unbelievable clarity – a staggering twelve minute exposure. Meanwhile, the Stainless are shot from the platform of a station as a train or underground tube pulls into a station; each image gives a detailed view of the people sitting on the train, as the interior is lit with studio-like contrast. Finally Magyar’s Urban Flow series perhaps gives the most uncanny portrayal of the urban individual: a home-made slit scan camera gives long, narrow images in which people merge and bend into blurred linear backgrounds.

Under Magyar’s radar, the single urban dweller is both one in one million and also intensely studied, with his sharp focus and near-erased backdrops; his vision on an international urban experience brings to mind the idea that “we are all in this together.”

Adam Magyar: Kontinuum, until 4 April, Julie Saul Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, New York.

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1. Adam Magyar, Urban Flow, 2007, Hong Kong. Courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery.