Basim Magdy: Dystopian Perspectives

Egyptian artist, Basim Magdy (b.1977), returns to Jeu de Paume, Paris, this Autumn for its 9th Satellite Programme: No Shooting Stars. The event, as a whole, seeks to put oceanic and land-based identities into context, comparing the two against each other and the perspectives that they evoke.

Land-based identity, as Heidi Ballet, Independent Curator of the programme states: “hinges on an inward-looking worldview that is concerned with finite space demarcated by borders and sovereignty, oceanic identity is radically different. An identity associated with water space entails a fluid, inclusive, expansive, outward-looking perspective that focuses on horizons and what lies beyond them.”

It is these juxtapositions in viewpoints that Ballet is interested in, and calls upon multi-disciplinary artist Magdy to investigate and further the questions being asked in this unique exhibition. Using his style of surreal “video-essays”, that often feature dystopian thought and satirical perspectives, Jeu de Paume present new works which look into the vast, and mostly undiscovered space of the ocean.

Acting as an outsider gazing outwards to to the mass of water, he adopts the view of an almost ethereal or omniscient being. As humanity is inherently land-based, and therefore live mostly within the consciousness of these borders, Magdy is offering something mystical and perhaps idealised in his new narrative-video.

Casting outwards into the see, the work is inclusive of a character whose identity is enveloped, shaped and informed by the underwater world. Shifting in waves like a poem, he explores the depths of eyesight, spiritual awakening and geographical limitation. Bringing forward the Eyptian artist’s skills for stories and collective identity, he builds a plot around a new space with a 16mm camera.

No Shooting Stars is at Jeu de Paume, until 15 January. Find out more: 

1. Basim Magdy, No Shooting Stars, (2016). Super 16mm and GIF animations transferred to Full HD. Duration: 14 min 25s.Co-comissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de BordeauxCourtesy of the artist © Basim Magdy, 2016