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Basim Magdy. A Series of Flickering Dreams

“What are we left with when we wake up from a dream? Sometimes it is the vivid recollection of what seemed to be an awake experience; at other times it is a tangle of flickering images that persist as an enduring echo. Instinctively, our brains might try to make sense of their meanings, yet they will not always succeed. With time, all that remains is a series of muffled feelings, the distant memory of a hallucination. And in that blurry reverberation your very own interpretation might possibly be manifest.

The layered films of the artist Basim Magdy (Asyut, Egypt, 1977) often draw inspiration from life to create an altered perception of reality; by juxtaposing images that would normally be associated with different semiotic fields, the artist manages to make even absurd occurrences seem plausible.

As seen in the films selected for this show– Crystal Ball (2013), The Dent (2014) and FEARDEATHLOVEDEATH (2022)– our effort of attributing a logic to what we see is immediately swept away by the immersive sensory experience generated by the masterly editing. Sound, especially, becomes a determining factor in creating the feeling of an enveloping ambience and the illusion of a continuous present that captures you until your eyes are wide open again.

As happens with dreams, it can be said that in Magdy’s work reality blurs with fiction and that the veracity of a vision loses its urgency. What gains importance is, instead, a new horizon of possibility, where past, present and future collapse and a novel interpretation arises. The question is: what is it that you’ll remember once you are awake?”

Carolina Ciuti

Basim Magdy’s work has been exhibited and screened internationally in solo exhibitions in institutions such as Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg; M HKA, Antwerp; MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisbon; La Kunsthalle, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Mulhouse; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MAXXI, Rome; Jeu de Paume, Paris; CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux; Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin; Arnolfini, Bristol; and in group exhibitions at MoMA, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; Tate Modern, London.

It has also been show in the Istanbul Biennial, Sharjah Biennial, New Museum Triennial (New York), Athens Biennial, SeMA Media City Seoul Biennial, Locarno Film Festival, New York Film Festival and International Film Festival Rotterdam, among others.

2022 LOOP Festival in Barcelona: a series of exhibitions, screenings and performances around the notion of time.


Projected work:


Super 16mm film transferred to Full HD, 17’ 15’’

Commissioned by Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden


· The Dent, 2014

Super 16mm film transferred to Full HD video, 19’ 02’’

Commissioned by the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014


· Crystal Ball, 2013

Double Super 8 film transferred to HD video, B&W, sound, 7’


Image Credits: Basim Madgy, The Dent, 2014. Super 16mm film transferred to Full HD video, 19’ 02’’. Still image courtesy of the artist.

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