Basim Magdy


Basim Magdy

  • July 9 – August 26, 2016
  • Visiting from Basel, Switzerland & Cairo, Egypt

Artist Basim Magdy’s practice takes many forms including photography, film (Super 8 and 16 mm), installation and work on paper, among others. The work is rooted in observations of the current moment, and characterized by a sense of uncertainty about the future. He explores the nature of observing, knowing and remembering, particularly related to war, history, information systems and the visual vocabulary of mass media, and the work often incorporates language, using the written word and poetic text, juxtaposed with saturated images to create humorous and sometimes absurd outcomes. Magdy was born in 1977 in Assiut, Egypt and lives and works in Basel and Cairo.

Magdy’s work has recently been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and The New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York. He was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev (2012) and was awarded the Abraaj Art Prize, Dubai and the New:Vision Award, CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen (2014) and the Experimental Award at the Curtas Vila do Conde – International Film Festival, Portugal (2015). Magdy was recently announced Deutsche Bank’s 2016 Artist of the Year.



Basim Magdy visited the Jackman Goldwasser Residency during the height of summer from July 11th – August 26th. Arriving with his whole family in tow, his residency started promptly with a visit to the nearest ice cream shop.

Magdy took the residency as an opportunity to explore some of his more personal interests, which will likely be visible, in some form, in his upcoming photo and film projects. A connoisseur of rock and mineral specimens, Magdy took walks and bike rides along the shore of Lake Michigan picking up curiosities along the way. Magdy diligently spent time in his studio every day, developing work and exploring new materials. The Art Center is home to many an abject object, which served Magdy well as he utilized a 1960s Kodak Carousel, found in our Preparator’s studio, for the length of his stay.

Overall, Magdy spent the majority of his residency conducting research, filming and photographing across the city for upcoming and potential projects, documenting the city on his instagram and on film, utilizing a menagerie of cameras brought from his home in Switzerland. Many packages of out of date or rare film arrived in the Center’s mailbox as Magdy sleuthed on Ebay to enable the use of his super 8 and 1960’s rare Polaroid cameras.

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