Basim Magdy

1977, Egypt ; lives and works in Basel


Basim Magdy’s works radiate sharp, irreal colors. These tinged mists which appear on the surface of his films and photographs are the result of the film being exposed for a long time to maintenance products which attack the image at the same time as lending it this psychedelic look.
At the Frac Bretagne, The many colors of the sky radiate forgetfulness (2014) proposes a tactile investigation of time passing by. If an acoustic composition develops over the images of a rustling nature, the narrative, for its part, remains quiet. As in a silent movie, the tale is written against a black backdrop which is interspersed between the images. In a disturbing way, the human and animal presence seems to have disappeared from this verdant setting and only exists in it in forms of memorial sculptures and stuffed animals. The narrative reports this disappearance from the natural environment, mistakes endlessly made by the human species, and the amnesiac cycle which continues to cause them. Like a whimsical and blurred memory, the film mixes the images and gradually breaks them up.
At the Musée des beaux-arts, a series of photographs (2014-2015) immortalizes mineral and island landscapes (The cautious passing of light through endless layers of forgiveness and When the dust settled we saw our neighbors constructing amber palaces for their protectors), geological formations (A World within a world within a world within a green coral wall), luxuriant vegetation (Fate brought us to the shores of a lava lake at dawn no. 1) and a ruined building (It was time for an endless nap). Washed by shades of fluorescent colour, the images and the landscapes seem to have been eroded by the passage of time. Calling to mind the metal supports of the earliest late 19th century photographs, the images have been printed on aluminium sheets which reinforce their analogical depth. They explore our anachronistic desire for those damaged images at a time when Instagram is enabling us to discolour them, thanks to filters which instantly fade them. 

A World Within a World Within a World Within a Green Coral Wall, 2014

Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes

C prints from chemically altered negatives on metallic paper

Courtesy of the artist ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; artSümer, Istanbul.
With the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.


Fate Brought Us to the Shores of a Lava Lake at Dawn (no. 1), 2014

Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes

C prints from chemically altered negatives on metallic paper

Courtesy of the artist ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; artSümer, Istanbul.
With the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.


It Was Time for an Endless Nap, 2015

Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes

C prints from chemically altered negatives on metallic paper

Courtesy de l’artiste ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; artSümer, Istanbul.
Avec le soutien de Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.


The Cautious Passing of Light Through Endless Layers of Forgiveness, 2014

Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes

C prints from chemically altered negatives on metallic paper

Courtesy of the artist ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; artSümer, Istanbul.
With the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.


The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness, 2014

Frac Bretagne

Super 16 mm film transfered to full HD (11’)

Courtesy of the artist ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; huntkastner, Prague et artSümer, Istanbul.
With the support of Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.


When the Dust Settled We Saw Our Neighbors Constructing Amber Palaces for Their Protectors, 2015

Musée des beaux-arts de Rennes

C prints from chemically altered negatives on metallic paper

Courtesy de l’artiste ; Gypsum Gallery, Le Caire ; artSümer, Istanbul.
Avec le soutien de Pro Helvetia, Fondation suisse pour la culture.