Basim Magdy

05 - 28 May 2008

© Basim Magdy
"On a Better Day Than This"

On a Better Day Than This is the culmination of work created by Basim Magdy over the past six years that investigates issues surrounding human accomplishment and its representation in global culture, media and fiction.
Displaying around thirty mixed-media drawings, photographs and a wall mural, Magdy draws on fragments from various structured situations and proposes alternative narratives – often ambiguous, humorous or purely absurd. His drawings and photographs are populated by an array of strange characters and puzzling situations: an ape-masked pilot posing prior to take-off, day-glo soldiers marching into conflict, yeti-like monsters waving to the viewer or what seems like a memorial snapshot of a man with a group of domesticated aliens. These pop-esque tableaux employ carnival characters in fictional scenarios, but simultaneously refer to crucial moments in history and literature; and most obviously allude to contemporary media’s power to dictate definitive truths and control the mechanisms by which knowledge is constructed and disseminated.
Drama, irony, humour and anticipation infuse the exhibition as Magdy attempts to enforce order on a disordered world. A further layer of meaning is imposed as the artist plays games with the methodology of display and our false yet instinctive sense of a definitive, historical timeline: the works’ titles and order suggest a narrative that does not necessarily exist, thus Magdy takes on the role of trickster, prompting the viewer to try to rationalise what is ambiguous by its very nature.
Alongside his drawings, Magdy premiers a mural depicting a protagonist precariously perched on top of the world in danger of toppling towards disaster at any second. Such comic yet uneasy imagery is indicative of Magdy’s desire to leave the viewer in a state of intrigue and confusion, interrogating the work’s content and meaning.
On a Better Day than This sees Magdy pose a central question: What makes the absurd believable, and how convincing should fiction be if it is to become part of our reality?

Tags: Basim Magdy