The Ones Who Refuse to Forget exhibits new and recent works by Basim Magdy (b. 1977, Assiut – Egypt) which are shown in Turkey for the first time.
Magdy‘s most recent film The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, 2014, which was originally shot on Super 16mm film, is a culmination of many of the topics that have informed his overall practice. Mainly focused on the individual’s relationship to the masses and the implications of the failure of utopian visions has on societal progress, the film patches together different places and temporalities into a fictional collage where the mundane becomes uncanny and the future appears as a continuous re-enactment of the present.
Inspired by the short stories of Magdy El-Gohary, the artist’s father, the script tells the utterly melancholic story of a man who moves away from the sea to escape death by water. He soon finds himself alone as his co-workers leave for the beach and never return. Images of historic ruins, futuristic architecture, and construction sites ―juxtaposed with monkeys on branches, and men on barges carrying paintings of the fish from “Finding Nemo”― act as the backdrop to a romantic phone conversation with a random stranger. As the narrative progresses, just like in Camus’ The Stranger, society becomes a stranger to him. His imagination becomes his only friend in a journey towards understanding a possible role in a society he doesn’t belong to.
The expansion of the limits of the image to represent and understand reality ruled by processes of construction and destruction is a common concern in A 240 Second Analysis of Failure and Hopefulness (With Coke, Vinegar and Other Tear Gas Remedies), 2012, too. The 160 color slides ―developed through an elaborate process of exposure to common household chemicals such as vinegar, coca-cola and yeast― depict a demolition site as it emerges into a construction one in a non-chronological order. Shown on two synchronized slide carousel projectors the images run in an analogy to life’s recurring cycles of victory and defeat. The corrosion of the medium by chemicals in Magdy’s practice, which can also be seen in the new photographs presented in the exhibition, brings out new forms of expression through poetically layered images, otherworldly colors, and makes it possible to experiment with the potential of film as a tangible physical material in the age of the digital.
The Ones Who Refuse to Forget presents ambiguous meanings and anachronistic aesthetics that urge to reflect on the nuances of contemporary life and the futile struggle to make sense of it all.