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János Megyik Photograms

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“If through an interpretative hypothesis I get inside the structure of an existing work, and some of its layers open before me, I arrive at a field I can upset and reconstruct, and create a new dimension that could not be seen or imagined beforehand.” —János Megyik

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Untitled II (1974–83), 1983


János Megyik. Gift of the artist

For six decades, János Megyik (Hungarian, born 1938) has been making poetic investigations of fractal geometry and perspectival systems, motivated by questions of point, line, plane, volume, and all that lies between and beyond their innumerable intersections. In 1983, following a decade or so spent building constructions from larch wood, the artist started experimenting with the cameraless technique known as the photogram.

To create a photogram, objects are placed directly upon photographic paper that is then exposed to light, darkening the exposed areas and revealing a shadow-like image of the object in white (or, if the object is transparent, shades of gray). Using his Vienna studio as a makeshift darkroom, Megyik spread six-foot-long sections of photosensitized paper directly on the floor and made photograms of his larch wood constructions—essentially creating reversals of his earlier work. 

Over the next five years Megyik made about 50 of these photograms. Working photographically offered the artist a ready means to give negative and positive space equal weight and to emphasize that “drawing” space always involves an interpretation. For Megyik, however, rigorous spatial analysis goes hand in hand with a sense of wonder at the infinite and absolute.

The first US museum exhibition of the artist’s work, János Megyik Photograms includes 12 large-scale photograms and one wall construction, his sculpture Corpus. A projection in three dimensions generated from one of his photograms, Corpus effectively functions as the reversal of a reversal, a prime example of the sort of “new dimension” the artist continuously seeks.

Sponsors

Major support for János Megyik Photograms is provided by the Ambassador Nicolas M. Salgo Fund.

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