András J. Nagy - Naked City

Opening: Wednesday, February 6, 2019

February 7, 2019 - April 27, 2019

  • András J. Nagy - Nackte Stadt, Knoll Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy - Nackte Stadt, Knoll Wien 19
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy - Nackte Stadt, Knoll Wien 19
  • Nagy 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019
  • András J. Nagy, ohne Titel, 2018, Digitale Fotografie, Lambda C-Print, Aufl. 1/5, 25x25 cm. Knoll Galerie Wien 2019

The exhibition “Naked city” of the Hungarian photographer Andràs J. Nagy is his fourth solo show in the Knoll Gallery Vienna and it encompasses his latest series of photographs from 2018. The show further develops themes and subjects already familiar to Nagy’s photographic oeuvre - people living the city and people being outlived by the city.

Andràs J. Nagy is an experienced observer of the environment since his first encounter with the camera when he was eight years old. He is an attentive listener of the city with a developed sense for even slightest movements and changes in his surrounding, always ready to react and shoot. In a certain way, he is a careful hunter for the event happening right now and right here. Being a street photographer he is simultaneously playing the role of an intruder, documenter and chronologist. With the action of taking photographs he penetrates the surface of the everydayness and makes the observer aware of things happening beyond his or her life. In his works the line between the street photographer and wanderer becomes vague, as he is everywhere and anywhere observing the moment that is yet to happen.

Nagy takes pictures with his mobile phone camera, to which he attached the adapter lens. Adapter lens is adjusted to the phone camera in order to make a wider perspective in the shots. Characteristic for this type of lens converter is its vignetting effect, which crops the image especially around the edges and gives it a peephole like circle. Some photographers try to escape this effect and trick the lens by zooming in while still achieving the wider cadre. However, Nagy leaves the vignetting effect, which becomes an inherent characteristic to his photographic style. Equally important for his aesthetic is the use of the black and white filter.
Most of the exhibited photographs are in black and white with few exceptions in colour. The vignetting effect gives an aesthetic distortion to the image, and several symbolic layers to its interpretation. With its peephole like feeling, not only the one behind the camera, but also the observers become intruders peeping without question into others’ lives. At the same time, while making the observer more focused on the photographed subject, the vignetting effect is evoking a certain kind of distance between the observer and the observed - it creates a safe space in between.

The images selected for the exhibition “Naked city” can be divided into two thematic categories: people, and architecture and urban sites of Budapest. Nagy, the invisible penetrator, captures instances from everyday life happening on the streets, on people’s daily routes to school, to work, to somewhere. With the same attention and care, Andràs J. Nagy observes the casual passers by, an elderly man waiting on the street light to cross the street, a guy cleaning his car from the snow, a street cleaner pushing his cart, a group of friends chatting and laughing, a beggar beginning in front of the subway station or the current state of homeless people encountered on the streets. Nagy perceives the city and its every part, from human people to buildings and sites and unclothes it layer by layer making it naked of all its truths. He shows what society usually choses not to see and not to comment on, a parallel universe of undesired realities, fears, weaknesses and hopes.

Except from exposing the present invisibilities, otherness and marginalised parts of the society, weather human or architectural, “Naked city” also opens up the question of street photography in the era where the society is constantly being filmed and watched but also sold on the story that everybody still has the right to the preservation of their private spaces and have options to chose not to be filmed. In this sense, one can understand Nagy as a watcher always being on duty, overtaking the role of the security cameras.

Andràs J. Nagy’s photographs remind of a dream where one finds himself/herself naked in the middle of the street, being utterly uncovered and ashamed. In front of his photographs the observers are confronted with their own nakedness by being shown the reality, weather it be the reality of the ordinary of their every day lives or the reality they constantly pass by but never actually see.

Text: Asija Ismailovski