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Folds of Existence: Short Films by Basim Magdy

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515 West 20th Street

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New York, NY 10011

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Short Films by Basim Magdy

February 2, 2018

“Basim Magdy’s moving image work layers film footage and text to produce a surrealistic visual essay, balancing the bleakness of contemporary conditions with sensitive humour. Magdy reflects on the fallible aspects of collective thought and action, on the cyclical processes of hope and ambition, failure and loss. His imaginative approach - at a global moment where the limits of collective political will have been recently experienced -veers away from predictable cynicism to evoke empathy and self-recognition. The used language is accessible and the tone literary, which becomes an unsurprising fact when Magdy reveals that his father wrote surrealistic short stories and that he grew up immersed in words and philosophy, even considering becoming a poet.” – Nada Raza


No Shooting Stars

2016, Super 16mm and GIF animations to digital, 14m

“In No Shooting Stars, Magdy covers a territory that has no founding legend, namely the vast oceanic space. Water space is present in most religious creation narratives and scientifically is even considered to be the source of life itself. Yet once water’s role of life-giver is played out, land-based civilizations attach little or no importance to the oceans. Oceanic territory lays dormant at the margins of our awareness and does not enter into history books since no group has an interest in glorifying it as a home base. On the contrary, psychologically open seas are caught in a land-water dichotomy that makes them the only place of designation for vagabonds and prisoners, thus figuring as a negative counter image for the order that reigns on the land.” – Heidi Ballet

The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys

2014, Super 16mm film to digital, 13m

“Based on a short story by his father Magdy El-Gohary, Basim Magdy’s latest sees him shift his usual fascination for the collective to the individual. A man calls a random number and has a tender conversation about loneliness as lush images drift across the screen in an entrancing haze.” – IFFR

The Dent

2014, Super 16mm film to digital, 19m

“An anonymous little town struggles for international recognition as it becomes obvious 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.” – Basim Magdy

My Father Looks For An Honest City

2010, Super 8mm to digital, 5m

“My Father Looks for an Honest City features Magdy's father walking around an abandoned construction site with a flashlight in hand, as a re-enactment of the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope's 'philosophical stunt'. Set against the sounds of a thunderstorm, the protagonist walks amidst a rubble of dreams – unfinished glass buildings, strange architectural and organic structures, stray dogs, fake palm trees – evoking a sense of slow, measured search for evidence in the wake of an apocalypse.” – LOOP Barcelona


Basim Magdy was born in 1977 in Assiut, Egypt, and lives and works in Basel and Cairo. His work appeared recently in solo and group exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Mathaf, Doha (2017) MCA 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; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York; Salt Ulus, Ankara; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; The New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Warsaw; HOME, Manchester, UK; The Green Parrot, Barcelona; Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Ireland (2015); La Biennale de Montreal, Montreal; Art in General, New York; Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA, Melbourne, Australia; MEDIACITY Seoul Biennial, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul; Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest; CRAC Alsace, Altkirch (2014); 13th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, UAE; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The High Line, New York (2013); Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; La Triennale: Intense Proximity, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2011); Mass MOCA, North Adams, USA and Ateliers de Rennes – Biennale dʼart contemporain, Rennes, (2010). He was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev (2012) and won the Abraaj Art Prize, Dubai and the New:Vision Award, CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen (2014) and the Experimental Award at the Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival, Portugal (2015), Deutsche Bank’s 2016 Artist of the Year (2016).

http://www.basimmagdy.com/




Folds of Existence

Programmed by Lorenzo Gattorna and Mary Ancel

A screening series of contemporary moving image that mediates the precarious boundaries between public space and personal psyche. Ranging from the meditative and transcendent to the cacophonous and debaucherous, these layered realities attempt to reclaim timeworn ideologies, made manifest via social network dynamics, contested geopolitical histories, formulaic mass entertainment, ecstatic virtual imaginings and oscillating collective projections. This powerful compilation of works challenges the currency and potentiality of events, and points towards alternative aesthetics and modes of existence. The programs presented include short-form, feature-length, single-channel and installation-based works.

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515 West 20th Street

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