For South South, we are presenting a solo OVR that samples analog photographic work by Basim Magdy exploring narrative, time and history. The earliest work is a set of polaroids from 2014. Magdy takes them on impulse - collecting hundreds of them - and they allow him the formal space to experiment with his photography, from transferring 16mm film stills into instant photography to double exposure and utilizing different filters. We are also showing more recent composite photographs that are produced with his signature chemically altered film stock.
Magdy employs different forms of narrative with a deep urge to explore meaning in collective aspirations and the human trajectory of progress. His vocabulary is permeated with a perplexity at a future that seems to bring both tragedy and fortune and is an attempt to map out a sardonic account of our history. His work is specific for a visual language that denotes its temperament: an iridescent, unhurried flow of images that act as a futurist’s outlook on the contemporary. Magdy uses an array of classical and unconventional media, from oil, acrylic and spray paint to chemically altered film stock, photographs and film footage shot by the artist. The result is an aesthetic sensibility of the spaces he creates that is at once retro and futuristic, existing beyond the confines of time as we know it. The artist chemically alters his images with a lab technique he calls “film pickling”, where rolls of film are cured using acidic household solutions and exposed to light leaks, producing color and material effects that lay an absurdity over his subjects.
Basim Magdy (born: 1977, Assiut, Egypt) lives and works between Basel and Cairo. His work was featured in recent solo exhibitions at M HKA Museum of contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium; MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, France; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome; Jeu de Paume, Paris; CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art, Bordeaux; Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin; Arnolfini, Bristol; South London Gallery, London; Mathaf, Doha; Art in General, New York; State of Concept, Athens; and University Galleries of Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA. His work was included in group exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; The High Line, New York; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. Magdy’s work was included in The New museum Triennial, New York; La Biennale de Montreal, Montreal; Seoul Mediacity Biennial; 13th Istanbul Biennial; Sharjah Biennials11 and 13; La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris. His films were screened at Tate Modern, Locarno Film Festival, New York Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam among others. Magdy was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev (2012) and was awarded the Abraaj Art Prize, Dubai (2014); New:Vision Award, CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen (2014); and the Experimental Award, Curtas Vila do Conde–International Film Festival, Portugal (2015). He was selected as Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year (2016).