Basim Magdy’s solo exhibition at the Frac Bretagne is a dive into the work of this fascinating artist of Egyptian origin. In his work, the image is considered in an expanded field that unfolds to observe what surrounds him and create parallel realities somewhere between embodied study and critical sublimation. In his paintings, photographs and films, the artist composes from samples of the world. As he wanders, he extracts images, gleans fragments, shapes them, twists them. Like a scientist, he tries experiments with reality to generate secondary realities. Throughout his work, he exposes very complex and convoluted constellations of contemporary social and political power structures, and the ways in which they might bring an end to the world. The dramatic tension of Basim Magdy’s critical fictions is thus based on existing realities and rests on counter-narrative plots, written by the artist and played out against the background of the absurdity of life and the banality of existence.
For his solo exhibition at the Frac Bretagne, the artist has chosen to present a large corpus of recent and older works that he puts in perspective in a floating display. Indeed, everything here is suspended, nothing on the wall or very little. The images, whether painted, photographic or filmic, cohabit in the volume of the space. The narratives they carry intermingle, clash, reinforce each other, and sometimes contradict each other. The artist is testing our ability to be caught up in the universes he offers us to see. The exhibition is an invitation to an introspective journey, an opportunity to embark on a trip, a wandering that is productive of meaning, if we are willing to embark on it.
Basim Magdy (1977, Egypt) lives and works in Basel
Basim Magdy’s work uses fictional pasts and dystopian futures to offer a critical commentary on the present. His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at major institutions around the globe, including MoMA in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, MAAT in Lisbon, MCA in Chicago, Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Jeu de Paume in Paris, and recently Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Antoni-Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona. He has also been invited to the Athens, Montreal, Istanbul and Rennes Biennials. He was a finalist for the Future Generation Art Prize of the Pinchuk Foundation in Kiev, Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2016 and has won several awards including Abraaj, Dubai and The New: Vision, CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen. His films have been screened in dedicated programming such as at the Tate Modern in London and the International Film Festival in Rotterdam.
Image : Bassim Magdy, FEARDEATHLOVEDEATH, 2022 (detail) Super 16 film transferred to Full HD, 17 min 15 sec. Ordering by Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg. Photo : Courtesy de l’artiste