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Tom Nagy is known for his cityscapes as well as his compositions that leave us doubting reality. Imaging walking through the streets of your city. The sun reflects off the white surface of the buildings, panes of glass bounce the sun in every direction. Despite the big city setting, it all feels extremely calm. Just a summer’s day. Then your gaze falls on a lion atop the building across the way. It is not alarming, but the most normal thing in the world. This lion and its majestic mane belong in this cityscape, as do the giraffes you recently spotted at the airport curiously nibbling at the jetway.
This all seems like a dream, a fantasy world. And yet it all feels as real as real could be. Nagy’s black-and-white photographs do not feel cold and pale. Rather, they are warm and harmonious. His playful use of contrast gives the artworks a natural feel, despite their completely desaturated color. Nagy does not draw a line between the animal kingdom and the world of people. There is a fluid border and common space. Animals make us human and connect us to nature. As Nagy says, “Is it not the animals that remind us of our origins?”
In brilliant sunlight, The Eternal City is positively radiant. Photographer Tom Nagy presents Rome’s historic sites in a series of warm and wonderfully evocative images that make us crave a summer stroll. The soft pastel and beige tones so characteristic of the Italian capital are complemented by the sublime yet subtle greens of the trees and hedges, bringing out the famous Mediterranean flair. Nagy subtly contrasts antique architecture with urban life in the modern metropolis. Unlike many other photographers, he does not try to conjure up illusions of Rome as it once was, showing us a vibrant city with its residents and visitors instead.
There are few places in the world in which the past is so pervasive and pronounced. Nagy knows how to present these time-honored settings, from the Roman forum to the Coliseum to the Spanish Steps. While the Roman monuments appear powerful and unforgiving, the photographs are still as light and breezy as an Italian summer’s day.Bio
Lives and works in Hamburg, GermanyExhibitions
2013 Tom Nagy. Photographs, Monika Mohr Galerie, Hamburg, Germany