artist / participant

press release

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.

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Basim Magdy
1968: Memorial to a Rising Continent