In Basim Magdy’s work we are subjected to the world through a satirical eye. His drawings, sculptures, videos and installations are conceived with a taste for the absurd. They build a universe that has gone off-kilter. Like dreams, elements of a familiar landscape stem out of reality. Past, present and future exist as a single realm and depictions – often of foliage and ruins, astronauts and rockets, airplanes, soldiers, cranes and modernist structures – take on a surreal aggressive quality.

Magdy’s references abound: they range from the slick veneer of advertising, the sinister tropes of science fiction and comic strip to the documentary style of nature, science and technology shows and the apocalyptic tone of biblical stories. Magdy utilizes an array of classical and unconventional media, from spray paint and colored crayons, 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.

Despite a preoccupation with analogue film, narrative sequences are seldom linear. Fragments, gaps, and clues suggest rather than tell a story. His videos, in particular, progress like a series of still images permeated with a haunted air that heightens our sense of suspense. In almost all his work, poetic but ambiguous titles add another layer to the narrative. Magdy stretches the boundaries of our imagination to test the logic of the truth which often lies somewhere between reality and fiction.

Basim Magdy
Assiut, 1977

Past Exhibitions

Basim Magdy: A Peacock and a Hippo Walk Into an Existential Debate

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse
06/06/2019 — 25/08/2019

Knock Knock: Humour in Contemporary Art

South London Gallery
22/09/2018 — 18/11/2018

The World on Paper

27/09/2018 — 07/01/2019

Only stone, bronze and the sky shall outlive all the rest

Hunt Kastner Artworks
25/02/2017 — 15/04/2017


Castello di Rivoli
14/03/2017 — 23/07/2017

Solo Shows

hunt kastner, Prague
It All Started with a Map and a Picture of Scattered Little Houses, Mathaf, Qatar (curated by Laura Barlow)
The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (curated by Lucy Badrocke)


The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Curated by Omar Kholeif
No Shooting Stars, Jeu de Paume, Paris. Curated by Heidi Ballet
No Shooting Stars, CAPC Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux. Curated by Heidi Ballet
The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome. Curated by Britta Faerber and Anne Palopoli
The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year 2016”, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin. (curated by Britta Faerber)
Some Become Part Time Singers and Some Keep Pretending, Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Hasselt, Belgium. Curated by Ils Huygens.

The Ones Who Refuse To Forget, artSümer, Istanbul
The Relentless Repitition of Reality, The Green Parrot, Barcelona. (curated by Rosa Lleo and João Laia)
Great Tricks From Your Future, D-CAF Festival, Cairo. (curated by Mai Abu ElDahab)
The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness, Cecilia Brunson Projects, London. (curated by Regine Basha)

Measuring the Last Breaths of Time on a Fading Scale, Gypsum Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.
An Absent Population Laughs at its Haunting Withdrawal, Art in General, New York (curated by Anne Barlow)
Our Shadows Gasped at the Sight of Their Own Multiplying Shadows, State of Concept, Athens. (curated by Iliana Fokianaki)
Crystal Ball – IndieMovingImage 2014 – ZDB – Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon. (curated by Joao Laia)

A Future of Mundane Miracles, Hunt Kastner, Prague, Czech Republic (show curated by Marketa Stara)
A Steady Progress of Nothingness, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York
Basim Magdy, Espace Croisé – Centre d’Art Contemporain, Roubaix, France (curated by Mo Gourmelon)
Confronting the Monster in a Monster Costume, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (curated by Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser)
How to Build an Invisible Monument, Coburn Gallery, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, USA (curated by Jessica Hunter Larsen)

Group Shows

La Vie Aquatique, The Regional Museum of Contemporary Art (MRAC), Sérignan, France
The Written Language of Reality, Hessel Museum, CCS Bard, Annandale on Hudson, USA (curated by Marta Cacciavillani)

Displacement, Galeri Akinci, Amsterdam.
The Huma Kabakci Collection, Pera Museum, Istanbul
The Time is Out of Joint, Sharjah Art Foundation Art Spaces, Sharjah, UAE. Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh
Outside the Sentence There Was a City, Salt Ulus, Ankara, Turkey. Curated by November Paynter.
Third Nature: On Infrastructure, Alchemy and its Futures, Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-On-Hudson, New York. Curated by Laura Herman
Towards a new shore, NC-Arte, Bogota.Curated by Claudia Segura Campins
Barjeel Art Foundation collection: Mapping the Contemporary II, Whitechapel Gallery, London. Curated by Omar Kholeif

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Assiut Country of birth: Egypt Date of birth: 1977 Lives in: Basel and Cairo
W: Basim Magdy M: