Basim Magdy

Available Artwork

New Acid


14:18 min

Super 16mm and computer generated text messages transferred to Full HD

Edition of 6 + 2 AP

Several animals chat via text messages. Between mundane exchanges of words, rivalries emerge. Have they become human?


“Do you remember life before plastic plants and origami flowers?”. Basim Magdy’s latest short imagines a nostalgia-tinged reality, a time on earth after humans, where animals and bots communicate through emoji-filled text messages. The zany language they speak might lead us astray, but we can detect a certain yearning for interaction. Enlightened through sleep deprivation, these beings find themselves trapped − but where? In a zoo or a stream of data?

Julian Ross

Basim Magdy (b. Assiut, Egypt, 1977, lives and works in Basel, Switzerland) is a collector, a storyteller, a researcher, a manipulator, a chemist and a philosopher. He accumulates numerous visual material, objects and devices of all sorts. While his starting point is a personal iconography made up of collected images, he makes sure that his works do not contain references that might make them too obviously recognisable and reduce their scope. He prefers the elusive to the familiar, and ventures beyond the visual to enter an unknown space which is more about questions than answers. He traces layers of alternative possibilities over his images. He adds them to other visions, buries them under chemical reactions, loses them in wandering narratives and produces new visions which are less reassuring but more seductive, less obvious but freer. To achieve this, he uses colour or humour, both of which appear in his works as an additional medium. 

Solo Exhibitions

2019 M.A.G.N.E.T, MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon (curated by Inês Grosso and Irene Campolmi)

2019  A Peacock and a Hippo Walk into an Existential Debate, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, Mulhouse, France (curated by Sandrine Wymann)

2019 An Escalator Descending Towards Mysterious Time Machines, artSümer, Istanbul

2018 Two Ghosts Discuss Invisibility in Front of a Mirror (with Magdy El-Gohary) Gypsum Gallery, Cairo 

2018 Pingpinpoolpong, or How I Learned to Laugh at Failure, South London Gallery (SLG), London (curated by Rachael Harlow) 

2018 Basim Magdy: To Hypnotize Them with Forgetfulness, University Galleries at Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA (curated by Kendra Paitz)

2018 Collection Focus: Basim Magdy - The Dent, Project Space Art Jameel, Dubai

2017 It All Started with a Map and a Picture of Scattered Little Houses, Mathaf, Qatar (curated by Laura Barlow)

2017 The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (curated by Lucy Badrocke) 

2017 Only Stone, Bronze and the Sky Shall Outlive All the Rest, hunt kastner, Prague

2016 The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Curated by Omar Kholeif 

2016 No Shooting Stars, Jeu de Paume, Paris. Curated by Heidi Ballet.

2016 No Shooting Stars, CAPC Musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux. Curated by Heidi Ballet

2016 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

2016 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)

2016 Some Become Part Time Singers and Some Keep Pretending, Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Hasselt, Belgium. (curated by Ils Huygens)

2015 The Ones Who Refuse To Forget, artSümer, Istanbul

2015 The Relentless Repitition of Reality, The Green Parrot, Barcelona. (curated by Rosa Lleo and João Laia)

2015 Great Tricks From Your Future, D-CAF Festival, Cairo. (curated by Mai Abu ElDahab)

2015 The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness, Cecilia Brunson Projects, London. (curated by Regine Basha)

2014 Measuring the Last Breaths of Time on a Fading Scale, Gypsum Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.

2014 An Absent Population Laughs at its Haunting Withdrawal, Art in General, New York (curated by Anne Barlow)

2014 Our Shadows Gasped at the Sight of Their Own Multiplying Shadows, State of Concept, Athens. (curated by Iliana Fokianaki)

2014 Crystal Ball - IndieMovingImage 2014 - ZDB - Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon. (curated by Joao Laia)

2013 A Future of Mundane Miracles, Hunt Kastner, Prague, Czech Republic (show curated by Marketa Stara)

2013 A Steady Progress of Nothingness, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York

2013 Basim Magdy, Espace Croisé – Centre d’Art Contemporain, Roubaix, France (curated by Mo Gourmelon)

2013 Confronting the Monster in a Monster Costume, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (curated by Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser)

2013 How to Build an Invisible Monument, Coburn Gallery, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, USA (curated by Jessica Hunter Larsen)

2012 When Thought Evades the Great Thinker, .artSümer, Istanbul 

2011 Pie in the Sky – with Flaka Haliti, Platform Sarai, Frankfurt (curated by Didem Yazici) 

2010 One Day We Will Shine Like The Stars, KÖR Kunsthalle Wien public space Karlsplatz, Vienna (curated by Katarzyna Uszynska) 

2009 Pray For Me, Fondazione Teseco Per l’Arte, Pisa, Italy (curated by Stefano Coletto) 

2009 1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York, USA 

2009 Last Good Deed, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Switzerland (curated by Sabine Schaschl) 

2008 On A Better Day Than This, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt 

2008 Blank Light, Ausstellungsraum Klingental, Basel, Switzerland (with Jérôme Leuba) 

2007 Brief Encounters with Semi-Fictional Worlds, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Alexandria, Egypt 

2007 The Common Deceit of Reality, Okay Mountain, Austin, USA (curated by Regine Basha) 

2007 Lost Arks, Uszynska Schaufenster, Vienna (curated by Katarzyna Uszynska) 

2007 Gazing at the Miracle of Civilization, ARCO Projects, Madrid, Spain 

2006 In the Grave of Intergalactic Utopia, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York, USA 

2005 Your New Life with Your Old Enemies, ObjectNotFound Project Space, Monterrey, Mexico 

2005 Current Whereabouts Unknown, Tyler Drosdeck and Basim Magdy, Newman Popiashvili Gallery, New York, USA 

2004 Dream on, Neue Kunst Halle St. Gallen, Fries 02, Switzerland (collaboration with Marianne Rinderknecht) 

2003 Two Days to Apocalypse, Falaki Gallery, Cairo 2

003 Dream on, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (collaboration with Marianne Rinderknecht) 

2003 Hero of the day, The Cold Room Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa



2002 Re-define, Basim Magdy and Karem Mahrous, The Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art, Cairo, Egypt



2001 The Future, The Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art, Cairo, Egypt 

2000 Paintings, The Townhouse Gallery of contemporary art, Cairo, Egypt