prague

Basim Magdy, Expanding the Universe, 2008, acrylic, spray paint, and gouache on paper, 15 x 20".

Basim Magdy

hunt kastner

Basim Magdy, Expanding the Universe, 2008, acrylic, spray paint, and gouache on paper, 15 x 20".

A black-and-white drawing, strategically placed at the entrance of Basim Magdy’s exhibition “A Future of Mundane Miracles,” curated by Markéta Stará, summed up what the artist’s work is all about. Titled Expanding the Universe and dated 2008, it shows the outlines of a bristly three-legged animal whose head is not easy to make out. Indeed, this creature may be headless; menacing and ridiculous in equal measure, it is, in a sense, absurd. But even more absurd is the inscription on the monster’s body: I KNOW THE SHAPE OF THE UNIVERSE. Could this ragged something really possess, let alone embody, such a profound secret? Hard to say, but such knowledge is exactly what the artist, who was born in Egypt and lives in Basel and Cairo, is interested in. Magdy is obsessed with the vision modern man has formed of the universe since the age of Enlightenment: our belief in inexorable progress

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the January 2014 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.