For those of you wondering about our most recent video art installation on view outside the entrances to the Samek Gallery and on the window screen at the Downtown Gallery, it’s a work by Berlin-based Hungarian photographer, Adam Magyar. In Stainless, Magyar records crowds waiting to board a subway train in New York from the vantage point of the train window. Though at first it appears as though we are panning over a still photograph, certain moments are full of motion. Lights flicker. Hair blows in the wind. Children run across the screen. These are subtle clues to the fact that we are actually witnessing a recording by an extremely slow-motion camera, the same used to record the outcomes of horse races.
Indeed, as a photographer, Magyar is interested in the space between stillness and motion, which he captures sumptuously in black and white. The figures he records in his film effortlessly glide past us, caught in a moment of stillness in an urban environment which would otherwise be full of speed. This is not necessarily a comment on the hectic pace of urban life, but rather a study of an environment. Although it is man-made, this environment is not to be differentiated from other ecosystems–as in, say, a rainforest–in Magyar’s view. His work encourages us to stop for a few moments and stand transfixed as the sea anonymous faces drift past. In doing so, I’m reminded of one of my favorite poems by Ezra Pound:
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
More information on Adam Magyar