Basim Magdy at The Green Parrot

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Artist: Basim Magdy

Exhibition title: The Relentless Repetition of Reality

Curated by: Rosa Lléo and João Laia

Venue: The Green Parrot, Barcelona, Spain

Date: June 5 – September 18, 2015

Photography: Roberto Ruiz, images courtesy of the artist and The Green Parrot, Barcelona

Basim Magdy’s films, photographs and paintings stage liminal spaces that make problematic the rigid structures of historical representations. Rather than a nostalgic gazing back in time, Magdy’s works propose a reassessment of our possible futures through a questioning of established readings of the past. By underlining our daily conscious or unconscious forms engagement with historical discourses, his work points out our participation in the construction of collective readings of the past and projections for the future, therefore signalling our ability to participate in the shaping of the present. In The Relentless Repetition of Reality, Basim Magdy presents two moving image works: The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, a 2014 16mm film transferred to digital, and the double slide projection A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies) (2012).

The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys explores the friction between textual narrative, inspired by the short stories of Magdy’s father, intricate soundscape, and luminous, colourful dreamlike images. The footage was shot in different locations around the world and their juxtaposition in the film creates a transitory and yet interconnected feel to these sites. By depicting modernist tropes, a recurrent subject of Magdy’s work, such as trains tracks, as well as ancient ruins, fascist monuments and post-modernist objects, The Everyday Ritual (…) creates a fluid temporal and spatial framework in which personal and collective memories blur together. The diffuse story emerging out of the juxtaposition of the films elements, whose possible links are left open, problematises stable narratives of the past and invites us for a playful revision of future hopes and dreams.

A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies) consists of 160 color slides shown on two synchronized slide carousel projectors. The images depict a demolition site as it emerges into a construction one, which were developed through an elaborate process of exposure to common household chemicals, such as vinegar, coca cola and others, which have been used as anti tear–gas remedies by revolutionaries throughout the Middle East over the past two years. The visibility given to both works’ processes of making, through a permanent exploration of the medium’s materiality, might be read simultaneously as an echo of history’s material foundations as well as of an indication of the artificiality of its narratives, and therefore as as indication of the productive possibilities lying in historical cracks and openings.

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A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies), 2012

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A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies), 2012

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A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies), 2012

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A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies), 2012

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A 240 second analysis of failure and hopefulness (with coke, vinegar and other tear gas remedies), 2012

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The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, 2014

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The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, 2014

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The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, 2014

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The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, 2014

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Cassawarius Rex, 2015

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