In George Legrady’s Layered Photographs, History Melds with Technology

Day & Night,” ’s third solo exhibition at Edward Cella Art & Architecture, mines data visualization and digital imaging technologies to probe the boundaries of photographic representation. Stemming from his fascination with a series of family photographs originating from Romania and Hungary in the 1930s and 40s, Legrady uses both analog and digital processes to compress the contemporary and the historical into a single photographic space. Juxtaposing found images of his ancestors against more recent photographs he’s taken of trees, branches, moons, and suns, Legrady creates large-scale lenticular prints on aluminum that merge the photographs into one vacillating image. Embracing a cyclical view of history, individual photographs in “Day & Night” function as data points that scramble, disrupt, and upend the linear passage of time.
Lenticular printing, a process that involves fusing multiple photographs into a single frame, creates a shimmering image that shifts based on the viewer’s position in space. Typically used for advertisements, the effect teeters precariously on the edge of kitsch, but Legrady approaches the process cinematically, pivoting it towards interactivity, nostalgia, and displacement. Using up to four or five photographs, a single print becomes both a still and moving image. The transformation mimes forms of photographic media from film and animation to flipbooks and double exposures. With dense compositions, illusionistic surfaces, and enlarged dimensions, the prints appear painterly upon first glance. 
In the “Transylvania” series, photographs of a full moon interrupt images of a wild boar hunt and cookout, which creates an occult-like collocation. The “Frolic” series depicts women in a field; their limbs intertwine with spliced images of foliage, adding a splash of color and approaching abstraction. For the interactive video piece Anamorphic Fluid, Legrady utilizes customized data visualization algorithms to create a kinetic animation that reacts to viewers’ gestures and movements. Displayed on two screens at the exhibition’s entrance, the video contains shards of images from the prints suspended in an infinite digital space. They flutter, meld, and crash into each other, their speed and velocity dictated by passersby—an effect the artist likens to paper blowing in the wind. Calling to mind William S. Burroughs’s cut-up technique, the video injects movement into the displaced images, mirroring the psychology behind the prints themselves.  

—Jessica Simmons

Day & Night” is on view at Edward Cella Art and Architecture, Los Angeles, Dec. 12, 2015–Jan. 23, 2016.