Visionaires: Basim Magdy

Magdy’s unique mixed medium works reveal social blueprints across history, reflecting on collective aspirations for future utopias and their failure.

Always on the lookout for the most exciting creative talent, this spring Cutler and Gross is supporting award-winning Egyptian artist Basim Magdy’s first UK solo show at the renowned Arnolfini in Bristol.

Magdy’s unique mixed medium works reveal social blueprints across history, reflecting on collective aspirations for future utopias and their failure. Come down and open your eyes and mind.

Since 1969, Cutler and Gross has worked to transform modern day eyewear into objects of desire and high design. It could be said that Tony Gross and Graham Cutler are artists themselves. Their product is a cultural Zelig, peppering and infusing the history of design with enduring, iconic style. It makes sense with our passion for creativity that we surround ourselves with like minded talent. Fashion designers, photographers and artists across the globe inspire us to think outside the box, to create and to be unique.

On our radar this spring is Basim Magdy, an extraordinary artist hailing from Egypt and the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2016, who we are supporting for his first UK show at the renowned Arnolfini in Bristol.

Basim Magdy’s work revolves around dreams, scientific theory and failed utopian ambitions. His work reflects the world’s inability to learn from our mistakes and instead allow the obsessive desire for progress to fail us, socially, politically and environmentally.

The Stars Were Aligned For a Century of New Beginnings focuses on the artist’s film work. Two films produced in 2014, The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys and The Dent, present surreal alternative realities. Layering past, present and future ideologies, the films present alternative realities, something we often conjure in our minds but are incapable of presenting in reality. Magdy uses experimental techniques for developing super 8 or 16mm film using household chemicals in a process he calls “film pickling”.   The nostalgic blurred images and psychedelic colours combined with ambient soundtracks seem to be from another world and time. Dreamlike scenes drift together, held by evocative, fragmentary narratives that, like many of Magdy’s works, exist somehow out of time and out of place.

“In recent years I have developed an interest in creating a language where image, text and sound don’t respond to or illustrate one another too literally,” explains Magdy, “where they float together in one container, sometimes meeting and other times drifting apart. In most cases there is a conclusion that doesn’t offer an obvious resolution. This leaves gaps for the imagination, offering a different understanding of these elements while maintaining the work as one coherent entity.”

At Cutler and Gross we love bright, brilliant colour. Colour that reflects our ethos that all things fresh, unique and bold are fabulous. Basim Magdy’s series of neon bright works are also on show at the Arnolfini. Using spray paint, collage and classic acrylic and watercolour the artist depicts cartoon like scenes telling a post-apocalyptic future where machines rule over man.

An Apology of a Love Story that Crashed into a Whale (2016) is a 64-part grid of text-layered photographs show a series of apparently unrelated architectural structures, objects and landscapes that question the way we pass on memories in order to alter our own future.

The exhibition opens on Friday 14th April 2017 and will be on show until Sunday 18th June. Come down and open your eyes and mind.


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