Wednesday, April 29, 2009
1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent by Basim Magdy
1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent
Newman Popiashvili Gallery
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11-6
504 West 22nd Street New York, NY 10011
May 2nd - June 20, 2009
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 2nd, 6-8 PM
Newman Popiashvili Gallery is pleased to present a second solo exhibition of Basim Magdy.
In his new installation "1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent" Magdy attempts to look beyond the polemical Atlantis story itself and to explore the evolution of our knowledge of the "lost continent's" largely debated quasi-history through one of its main chapters: The "readings" of Edgar Cayce.
In the center of the gallery an Angel of Death figure in diving gear and fins sits on the edge of a rooftop, looking at the horizon with his bird of good omen in what seems like a post-flood scenario. Surrounded by burlap sandbags and covered with marine remains, the structure looks as if it had just emerged from the bottom of the ocean. As in Magdy's previous installations much attention is paid to detail where hints are to be found and affiliations to be made. A recording of selected fragments of Edgar Cayce's detailed but often ambiguous "readings" about Atlantis can be heard across the gallery at different time intervals.
A modern age Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce predicted in the beginning of the 20th century that in 1968 the lost continent of Atlantis would begin to rise from the bottom of the ocean. Before the whole continent sank in the ocean waves of immigrants fled, transporting the preserved secrets of Atlantean knowledge to three places where civilization later evolved: The island of Bimini close to Florida, Egypt and Yucatan in Mexico. In 1968 the Bimini Road, a submerged rock formation of large rectangular stones, was discovered just off North Bimini Island. Geologists insist the rock formation is a natural phenomenon that dates back to a later time than the one Cayce suggested for the existence of Atlantis. Cayce's followers believe his prophecy was fulfilled.
While Cayce's contribution to the Atlantis debate draws obvious parallels to other flood stories of ancient times like those of the Bible and the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, its similarities to the widely accepted looming doomsday scenarios of our contemporary time can't be ignored. 1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent, is Magdy's attempt at starting a discourse that investigates, not the possible existence of a technologically advanced civilization before mainstream historical civilization began, but the longing for a pseudo-scientifically proposed history in an age of constructed logic through structured research and traditional scientific methodology.
Born in Assiut, Egypt in 1977, Magdy lives and works between Basel and Cairo. He works with drawing, painting, animation, installation, sculpture, video and sound. His work appeared recently in solo and group shows at Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel/Muttenz, Switzerland, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Musac - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain; Suzie Q Projects, Zurich; MARCO - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Vigo, Spain, Okay Mountain, Austin; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (CAAC), Sevilla, Spain, Enrique Guerrero Gallery, Mexico City; Sfeir - Semler Gallery, Beirut and Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, France.
For further information please contact the gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11am - 6pm.
And also at Cabinet:
Across Histories presents:
Artist talk: Basim Magdy
When: May 6, 2009, 7pm
Where: Cabinet 300 Nevins St (between Degraw St & Sackett St) Brooklyn, NY, 11217
Free and open to the public
Basim Magdy will present some of his recent projects in video, installation, drawing and public space that intertwine his investigations of quasi-histories, failed scientific promises, unexplored future possibilities and the simple notion of belief with absurdity, irony and subtle humor. Magdy will then discuss his current show at Newman Popiashvili Gallery 1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent with independent curator Regine Basha. Within this context, the discussion will focus on the running thread of mythology, symbolism and potential for narrative through science which influences Magdy's ongoing interest in the obscure space between reality and fiction and the construction and dissemination of the knowledge that fills it. During the talk copies of a poster project the artist realized this year for Kunsthaus Baselland in Switzerland and other printed material will be available for free.