Basim Magdy
11 Recent Works On Paper
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 – 05.02.15

Basim Magdy seeks different possible futures in works that reconstruct “past visions of the future that is now our present – the future that never arrived.”

His works on paper are immensely inventive and disconcertingly fanciful, produced with combinations of watercolour, spraypaint, gouache, acrylic, coloured pencils and collage. Brilliant colours belie the darker titles, such as A Monument for our Short-Sighted Heroes, An Eavesdropper Lurks in the Shadows of Your Every Thought, or They Endorsed Collective Failure as the Dawn of a New Renaissance. Surely, there are stories hidden here.

Magdy works in extended series and multiple media, including an ongoing project of captioned photographs titled Every Subtle Gesture. Here, photos are chosen from an ongoing personal archive, with captions giving unexpected but logical interpretations to images. Tiny details refer to philosophical issues or such concepts as time, existence and death.

He is fascinated by the future and how it might affect the present – but also how much the future might replicate the present. He is a magician, in short, in the lineage of Georges Méliès (1861-1938) and his famous Le voyage dans la lune / Voyage to the Moon of 1902.
—PG

Every Decade Memory Poses as a Container Heavier than Its Carrier, 2013, spray paint and acrylic on paper, 70 x 100 cm (courtesy of the artist, Marisa Newman Projects, New York, and Hunt Kastner, Prague)
Our Spies Saw an Early Pollination Season on the Horizon, 2013, spray paint, gouache, acrylic, colored pencil and collage on paper, 47 x 64.5 cm (courtesy of the artist, Marisa Newman Projects, New York, and Hunt Kastner, Prague)
They Endorsed Collective Failure as the Dawn of a New Renaissance, 2013, acrylic, spray paint and watercolor on paper, 45.5 x 60.5 cm (courtesy of the artist, Marisa Newman Projects, New York, and Hunt Kastner, Prague)
The Dent
Arsenal Art Contemporain
22.10.14 – 20.12.14
The Dent is a mysterious work with overlapping themes and an unlikely narrative: a dream world with roots in real people and possible situations.“When I arrived celebrations were being held for one reason or another. One by one, they lined up to shake hands with me.”This film began with footage shot at Baie St-Paul in Québec during a 2011 residency, and opens with flickers of light and coloured flashes, a welcome gift from out-of-date film stock. Footage was shot in many locations – Paris, New York, Brussels, Prague and elsewhere – but the story of the elephant and the dented arena comes from Baie St-Paul and small-town scenes continue to reappear. An underlying dystopia also periodically surfaces, with reference to lost fishing villages, zebra stripes on a last circus elephant, and termites chewing through steel “dinosaur eggs.”The sound design is minimal, referring obliquely to images on screen, but like the wavering colour and transparent overlays rippling erratically over the film surface, the subtle audio fragments evoke dream and memory, or anticipate a different path. Late in the film, melancholic circus music whistles poignantly: a recollection from childhood, or a fragile future-memory that replays events in anticipation of a time to come.
—PG
The Dent, 2014, super 16mm film transferred to full HD video, 19:02 minutes (courtesy of the artist; commissioned by the Abraaj Group Art prize)
The Dent, 2014, super 16mm film transferred to full HD video, 19:02 minutes (courtesy of the artist; commissioned by the Abraaj Group Art prize)
Biography

Born in 1977 in Assiut, Egypt, Basim Magdy obtained his BFA in painting at Helwan University, Cairo, in 2000. His work has recently been featured in solo exhibitions at Hunt Kastner, Prague (2013); artSümer, Istanbul (2012); KÖR Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2010); Fondazione Teseco per l’Arte, Pisa (2009); Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, Switzerland (2009); Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo (2008); Okay Mountain, Austin (2007); Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York (2006); and Neue Kunst Halle St. Gallen, Switzerland (2004).

Magdy’s work has also recently been included in several screenings and group exhibitions, including Rencontres Picha, Lubumbashi Biennial, Democratic Republic of Congo (2013); Biennale Jogja XII, Indonesia (2013); 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2013); Future Generation Art Prize, Venice (2013); Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2012); La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2012); AR/GE Kunst Galerie Museum, Bolzano, Italy (2012); Newtopia, Mechelen, Belgium (2012); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Argos Centre for Art and Media, Brussels (2011); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2011); Institut Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, Germany (2011); D-0 ARK Underground Biennial, Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2011); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams, MA (2011); Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’art contemporain, Rennes (2010); and DEPO, Istanbul (2010). He is represented by Marisa Newman Projects, New York, and Hunt Kastner, Prague.

www.basimmagdy.com