Basim Magdy

b. 1977. Lives and works in Assiut. Basim Magdy’s works have been exhibited and screened at the Tate Modern, Istanbul Biennial (2013), Sharjah Biennial (2013), The High Line, New York (2013), La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2012) among many other places. In 2014, his film The Dent won the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai.

The Dent, 2014
Super 16mm film transferred to Full HD video, color, sound. 19 min. 2 sec.
바심 막디
Commissioned by the Abraaj Group Art Prize, 2014
Image Courtesy the Abraaj Group Art Prize
Starting with shiny rooftops and ending with the seemingly insignificant demise of the last circus elephant of its kind, The Dent weaves loosely linked events and irrational occurrences to reflect on collective failure and hopefulness. An anonymous little town struggles for international recognition as it becomes obvious that failure is a monster too big to slaughter. Their mayor resorts to hypnosis in the shape of a circus. An ambiguous dream that defies interpretation leaves the circus owner baffled. He wakes up to put his clowns and their wives to work. The consequences of this series of events hit the elephant where it hurts. Fate becomes its enemy.
Shot between Paris, New York, Brussels, Quebec, Basel, Madeira, Prague and Venice among other locations, the film constructs a narrative through gestures and indirect affiliations between layers of sound, image and text to respond to the absurdity of the little details that manifest into our reality. [Basim Magdy]
Time Laughs Back at You Like a Sunken Ship, 2012
Super 8mm film transferred to HD video, 9 min. 31 sec.
바심 막디2
Courtesy .artS?mer (Istanbul), Hunt Kastner (Prague) and Gypsum Gallery (Cairo)
An enclosed environment of isolated preservation is the setting. A man sits with his mysterious reflective device. What he sees through its eyeholes resembles what is reflected on its surface. The man waits for something to happen. A ship dances on the horizon. Intricate ancient ruins and monuments intertwine with failed modern societies. Light leaks through the camera and onto the film, creating a sense of poetic unexpectedness. The protagonist is restless, stands up and walks around in circles. The soundtrack becomes more intense. Nothing happens. He sits down again as night starts falling.
In Time Laughs Back at You Like a Sunken Ship, time passes in its own shadow as reality and its representation merge. It lingers quietly in ancient ruins like a dancing ship on the horizon. Eventually, it consumes itself in its own darkness as tree branches swing back and forth. [Basim Magdy]
Every Subtle Gesture, 2012?ongoing
A series of color prints on Fuji Crystal Archive paper and letterpress silver text, 52×45 cm (each)
바심 막디3
Courtesy .artS?mer (Istanbul) and Seoul Museum of Art.
10 new photographs are commissioned by SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul 2014
Part of a large collection of photographs that Magdy has been developing for several years, is Every Subtle Gesture, 2012. The images appear to be a form of documentation or a specialized archive, but in fact they are all disparate snapshots of some kind of fragment, and that seems to be the only strand binding them together. The phrase accompanying each snapshot encapsulates it as a surreal moment or part of an imaginary tale. The series as a whole follows no discernable narrative or plot, but the little clues Magdy offers beckon the viewer to turn this ambiguity into a magical story of their own. [Mai Abu ElDahab]