Trained as a painter, artist Basim Magdy (Egyptian, b. 1977) began experimenting with colorful works on paper and canvas before moving into the realm of photography and cinema. In a process he dubs “pickling,” the artist applies household chemicals to analog film and photographic material. The results are sumptuous, spectral photographic visions of landscapes, presented as large-scale prints, slide projections, and film.
The MCA presents Magdy’s first US museum survey, featuring rarely seen and new pieces. His works across media—which evoke a pop sensibility in contrast to their grim titles, such as They Endorsed Collective Failure as the Dawn of a New Renaissance and The Bitterness of What Could Have Happened and What Ended Up Happening—speak to our collective ambition for a utopian future and the inherent failure of this human aspiration. This presentation includes newly commissioned works for the MCA as well as a specially produced artist book.