Oct 30th 2018

Join us for a free public conversation with artist Basim Magdy, film scholar and curator Bruce Jenkins, and exhibition curator Kendra Paitz. This event is presented in conjunction with Basim Magdy’s solo exhibition, To Hypnotize Them With Forgetfulness. It is co-sponsored by the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust and supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Exhibition information

To Hypnotize Them With Forgetfulness presents six films, a photographic installation, and a newly commissioned text-based mural by Egyptian artist Basim Magdy. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s process-based experiments with altering analog film and writing absurd storylines. Educated as a painter in Cairo, Magdy began to shift his focus more toward working with photographs and manipulating film in 2011. He explains that he could use film as “a tool to communicate ideas related to loss, destruction, confusion, and the apocalypse.” His endless transformations include “pickling” the film in household solutions; placing a kaleidoscope in front of the lens; and utilizing masks, light leaks, and double exposures. The resulting painterly distortions of image and color are vibrant, unexpected, and hypnotic. Magdy then composes improbable narratives—often about future aspirations, failure, and the repetition of history—which are added as both voiceovers and captions. Strangely haunting and darkly humorous, the works create, in the artist’s words, “a visually different version of reality” and a “narrative that has no beginning and no end.”

The exhibition’s title is quoted from The Dent (2014), a 19-minute Super 16mm film transferred to HD video that demonstrates the range of the artist’s poetic and ambiguous writing. Amidst imagery of dilapidated Modern infrastructure, Classical marble sculptures, a spectral marching band, and an all-seeing elephant, a story of collective failure unfolds in a fictional small town where the residents unrealistically dream of hosting the Olympics. Additional works include The Everyday Ritual of Solitude Hatching Monkeys, a 2014 film that was inspired by Magdy’s father’s short stories, and a related 2017 photographic work, We’re All Victims of Our Own Adopted Fantasies Here (reprise). Among the other selected films are: No Shooting Stars (2016); The Many Colors of the Sky Radiate Forgetfulness (2014); Crystal Ball (2013); and Thirteen Essential Rules for Understanding the World (2011).

An 80-page exhibition catalogue featuring texts by film scholar Bruce Jenkins and exhibition curator Kendra Paitz will be published in 2019.

Basim Magdy: To Hypnotize Them With Forgetfulness is organized by University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz and is sponsored in part by grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust. The tour and workshop presented with the Children’s Discovery Museum is made possible by an Illinois Prairie Community Foundation grant awarded to the CDM.

Basim Magdy biography

Magdy’s work has been exhibited at New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Beirut Art Center, Beirut; MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome; D-CAF Festival, Cairo; Arnolfini, Bristol, England; Jeu de Paume, Paris; and Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy; and has been included in the Sharjah Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Lubumbashi Biennial, and Seoul Biennial. His work is included in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris; Deutsche Bank Collection, Germany; National Gallery of Canada, Ottowa; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Castello di Rivoli, Torino; and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; among others. Magdy was the 2016 Deutsche Bank “Artist of the Year” and has been awarded the Abraaj Art Prize, Dubai, and the NEW:VISION award at the CPH:DOX Film Festival, Copenhagen. In 2012, he was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize at the Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev. Magdy lives and works in Basel, Switzerland. He is represented by artSümer, Istanbul; Gypsum Gallery, Cairo; and hunt kastner, Prague.

Bruce Jenkins biography

Bruce Jenkins is Professor of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He previously served as the Stanley Cavell Curator at the Harvard Film Archive, Director of Film/Video at the Walker Art Center, and Film Programmer at Media Study, Buffalo. His books include: Gordon Matta-Clark: Conical Intersect (2011); On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton (2009); and 2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Part II (1999), among others. His recent major project has been the Andy Warhol Film Catalogue Raisonne (vol. 2: 1963-65). Jenkins has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. He has previously taught at Harvard University, University of Cincinnati, Macalester College, University of Minnesota, and SUNY at Buffalo. He received his BA at New York University and his PhD at Northwestern University.

Kendra Paitz biography

Kendra Paitz is the Director and Chief Curator at University Galleries of Illinois State University. She has organized solo exhibitions featuring Terry Adkins, william cordova, Cecil McDonald, Jr (co-curated), Carrie Schneider, Dianna Frid, Edra Soto, Juan Angel Chávez, Ebony G. Patterson, Deb Sokolow, Laura Letinsky, Melanie Schiff, Rana Young, Jason Lazarus (co-curated with Barry Blinderman), Stanya Kahn, Lori Waxman, Kendell Carter, Stephanie Brooks, Oliver Herring (co-curated), Irena Knezevic, Adam Farcus, and Shinique Smith, among others. Her group exhibitions include Strange Oscillations and Vibrations of Sympathy, and The House of the Seven Gables, among others. Paitz’s essays and interviews have been published by University Galleries of Illinois State University; Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Daylight Books; Des Moines Art Center; and Golden Parachutes, Berlin.

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