Photographs from the 21st Century


Collegium Hungaricum Berlin
December 9 2011 - February 19 2012  
Curated by Uwe Goldenstein

The exhibition Underworld is a tribute to the city and citizens. It showcases three of Adam Magyar’s series for each of which he developed a unique technique that reveals new dimensions in photography. In its dynamics, Magyar’s ultimately utopistic perspective discloses ever-present but never-seen layers of the city and depicts citizens as elementary particles acting in the greater whole, embedded in their functional progress. Magyar’s Stainless series is in the focus of the exhibition. The immaculate subway trains are captured in the process of slowing down: due to Magyar’s elaborate and ingenious photographic technique, the trains pulling into the station seem like still lives coated with deep and soothing black. As classic portraits, the subway trains seem sublime in their pure functionality and appear to convey a timeless and motionless peace both to the passengers and the portraits’ viewers, even when all passengers appear to be preparing themselves for their arrival in the train station. Magyar‘s series Urban Flow works with a reversed visual logic, because the process of acceleration is converted here into a process-wise visual standstill. With this – in fact – impossible space-time constellation, the citizens are the city itself, presented in all its dynamics. This way, he lends an abstract quality to the urban time-flow, and makes us stop. Therefore, the photographic moment is not only doubled and sequentially frozen but is brought to life in the standstill. So, glide over squares to see city vertigoes, stop at a crossing where everyone is rushing by or dive deep into the subway tunnels and marvel at the tranquility and beauty of life as aesthetized by Adam Magyar.

Uwe Goldenstein