April 21, 2007 - Okay Mountain - Basim Magdy: The Common Deceit of Reality
April 21, 2007

Basim Magdy: The Common Deceit of Reality

Basim Magdy:
The Common Deceit of Reality

April 21st May 26th, 2007

Curated by Regine Basha
at Okay Mountain, Austin

In conjunction with The Common Deceit of Reality, a series of drawings called A Cunning Plan have been disseminated in The Okay Mountain, Reader; ARTLIES issue no. 53 and the May/June issue of ART PAPERS. ART PAPERS launches this issue, which includes a specially designed 6-page spread of Magdy’s work, on April 21st at Okay Mountain, Austin.
See www.artpapers.org

“The rarest and most precious knowledge is not that which is imposed, but rather, that which is absorbed, inhaled almost, from the ephemeral substance of the world in which we are contained.” The Charter of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Information.

“Well, I’m a romantic, so I always wanted them to exist. . . .”
Jane Goodall

“Lotta ins, lotta outs, lottta what-have-yous..”
The Dude. The Big Lebowski

In his new piece made specifically for Okay Moutain, ‘Mud Pools or how we got ourselves to look for Bigfoot Heaven’, Magdy explores an imagined evolution of -not the elusive Sasquatch himself- but the search for Bigfoot and scientists’ productive failure at the attempts at verifying his existence. As is characteristic of Magdy’s installation work, the joyful mania is embedded in the tiny details of found and made objects, reminiscent of the beloved care taken at the Museum for Jurassic Technology. A trailer camping out in the dim gallery provides speculative evidence of a botched scientific discovery that develops into to an epic tale of mythic proportions set in the not too distant future. As zealots, the cryptozoologists go to extreme lengths to authenticate their belief in the ‘soft evidence’ (hair samples, footprint, eyewitness accounts) related to Bigfoot. Soon their investment in this desire trumps empirical reasoning and submerges them into a parallel reality of meta-meaning, auto-surveillance and paranoia. The whole mess feels vaguely familiar.

From this cryptozoological vantage point, Magdy looks to our current culture of myth production. Magdy’s drawings and installations playfully mirror our media culture’s regurgitation of simplistic primal fear, wholesale heroism and canned hope for the future. His primary target is the increasingly blurry co-production of war reporting and entertainment news recognized in his work as the most sinister producer of myth. In his illustrious drawings, becoming known for their 80s-inflected neon spray-paint, or clunky pixilations, devilish creatures, naif ape-men and half-breeds run amok or engage in simplistic activities. Other images reappear throughout the work, such as the fallen astronaut, a stand-in for melancholic alter-egos and failed dreams of progress and civility.

Considering the bleak scenario Magdy portrays, all is not dismal. The colorful levity, satirical bent and penchant for absurdity bring to mind the kind of antics only Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park could dream up – offering up smart and hilarious critique through the back door.

Also on view in the Okay Mountain backyard is: ‘In the Grave of Intergalactic Utopia’, the artist’s seminal outdoor installation with a fallen astronaut that recently appeared at Newman Popiashvilli. With these two installations, an inversion of the backyard and the gallery space will happen for the first time at Okay Mountain

Materials in the exhibition include:
Waferboard, hay bails, lumber, chicken wire, vinyl letters, Skamper trailer, binoculars, rifle, fake tranquilizer dart, a set of playing cards, wood chips, clock radio, broken satellite dish, full gorilla costume, Bigfoot footprint cast, tree logs, diagrams and drawings, Bigfoot teeth, Bigfoot jaw, Bigfoot hair samples in a glass jar, notebook, map, walkie talkies, pine cones, leftover food, ashtray, camouflage netting, two bird nests, a casserole of beans, paper plates, cotton, full astronaut outfit, live goldfish, small trees, stones, burnt wood, lentil sprouts, inverted 5-gallon water container, inverted water bottle, animal and astronaut figurines, fan, dog bowl, butterfly specimens, 3 eggs, bug zapper, taxidermy rooster, taxidermy white hen, spray-painted clay sculpture, blankets, pillows, fire extinguisher, photographs, sneakers, cigarette butts, simulated surveillance camera and more.

Basim Magdy lives and works in Cairo and is represented by Newman Popiashvili Gallery in New York and Townhouse Gallery in Cairo.

Special thanks to: ART PAPERS, Fluent~Collaborative, Don Mullins Jr., Eva Buttacavoli, Patrick Martin, Studio 512, Mike Chesser, Mel Zeigler, Livia Berner and Newman Popiashvilli Gallery.

Okay Mountain
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