ARTPIL Profiles of the Arts
La Dépense / Francis Alÿs
Through Feb 24, 2019 / Rockbund Art Museum

Francis Alÿs / Tornado

The Rockbund Art Museum will present the first large-scale solo exhibition in China by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs, La Dépense, through February 24, 2019, curated by Yuko Hasegawa.

 

Francis Alÿs / Tornado

Francis Alÿs / A Story of Deception, Patagonia, Argentina

One of the most influential artists of the contemporary period, Francis Alÿs lives and works in Mexico City. Arriving there in 1986 armed with an architectural education, Alÿs began to make works that revolved around the city’s distinctive local culture, history, and society, ultimately expanding his artistic inquiry to a range of locations around the world that he has traveled to and spent time getting to know. With his acute poetic and imaginative powers of perception, Alÿs raises questions about anthropology and geopolitics, creating works from his close observations of everyday life. He has had numerous major exhibitions, including at the Tate Modern in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, among many others. La Dépense, the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in China, will present close to 1300 works, including drafts, videos, sketches, paintings, drawings, and other preparatory works, some of which have never been seen by the public before, offering a rare glimpse into the artist’s working methods.

 

Francis Alÿs / Le Temps du Sommeil

Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs

The exhibition’s title La Dépense, which translates as “consumption,” refers in particular to the theories of French philosopher Georges Bataille. As the curator Yuko Hasegawa notes, “In a China transformed by a fast-paced transition to capitalism and the efficiencies of technology, excessively ‘non-productive consumption’ (dépense improductive) is just as important in human activity as productive consumption.” Such a notion is tightly wound into Alÿs’ artistic practice, which Hasegawa commends for “courageously grappling with the status quo; casting doubts on our visual sense; rethinking the meaning of the labor of manual work and what it means to consume time: these are among the subtle messages from Alÿs’ work that can be applied to the situation in China.”

 

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception”, 2011, Museum of Modern Art

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception”, 2010, Tate Modern

From 2000 to 2010, Alÿs returned to the plateaus outside of Mexico City at the same time every year with a handheld video camera, boldly rushing towards the tornadoes that would form there during the dry season so that he could enter the eye. Capturing the extreme tension between the swirling exterior and the tranquil inner core, this well-known video work, Tornado (2000-2010), visually narrates this fundamentally non-productive act. As Alÿs has stated, “we of our times must create fables.” The large number of tornado sketches that the artist amassed during this decade – the entire process of production, from conception to video editing – will be displayed to the public, revealing a rarely seen facet of the work. Similarly, in the latest video work Exodus (2014-2018), a girl repeatedly braids and unbraids her hair. For this less-than-one-minute long video, the artist created close to 1000 hand-drawn sketches, which will also be presented in the exhibition. As the curator explains, “Here you will find direct encounters and physical involvement of the sort gradually threatened and forgotten by our digitized world, as well as suggestions that make us aware of, or recognize anew, the value of manual work.”

 

Francis Alÿs / Silencio

Francis Alÿs / The Loop

Alÿs has always maintained a consistent creative trajectory while pursuing new ideas and projects. For instance, in the ongoing body of work Le Temps du Sommeil (1996-), the artist has devoted over 20 years to continually reworking the same 111 small oil paintings on canvas, with the total number of canvases never changing. This exhibition will include new paintings from Alÿs’s 2017 Nei Mongol (2017) series, which were made during trips that Alÿs took last year to Shanghai and Inner Mongolia. These works recall the series The Loop (1997) made during his first visit to Shanghai in the 90s, a journey where the artist continually traveled in a South East direction around the world. This ensured that the artist undertook the longest possible route back to his departure point, such that his journey would finish on the border separating Mexico and the USA, but from the other side. This epic of anti-economic creative logic offers a good example of the principle “maximum effort, minimum result” that could be read as the postulate running behind the works on display in this exhibition.

 

Francis Alÿs / Exodus

Francis Alÿs

For the duration of Francis Alÿs: La Dépense, Rockbund Art Museum will host a series of public education events, including lectures and workshops, allowing viewers to further engage with the ideas found in the artist’s work. For the occasion of Alÿs’ first institutional exhibition in China, an exhibition catalogue will be published. The exhibition coincides with the artist’s participation in the 12th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

 

Francis Alÿs: La Dépense
Through Feb 24, 2019 / Rockbund Art Museum
Curated by Yuko Hasegawa
Visit the exhibition page >

Recent Articles
ARTPIL / Prescription .096
Rounding out our 2nd Year
We are rounded out our second year with nearly a million visits…
We are rounded out our second year with nearly a million visits strong. A very exciting two years…
Venice Biennale / 58th Edition
May You Live in Interesting Times
The title can be interpreted as a sort of curse where “interesting…
The title can be interpreted as a sort of curse where “interesting times” evokes the a challenging or…
Jeff Wall
Through April 2020
Over the course of a nearly fifty-year career, the Canadian artist Jeff…
Over the course of a nearly fifty-year career, the Canadian artist Jeff Wall has transformed our understanding of…
The Other Art Fair
Presented by Saatchi Art
Celebrated for its unique and immersive visitor experience, The Other Art Fair…
Celebrated for its unique and immersive visitor experience, The Other Art Fair has grown both in the UK…
CITTADIMILANO / Giorgio Andreotta Calò
Through July 21, 2019
Among the contexts evoked, the city of Milan provides one of the…
Among the contexts evoked, the city of Milan provides one of the central premises of the exhibition which…
Jannis Kounellis
Through July 27, 2019
With works from 1960–2014, the exhibition intends to act as an extensive…
With works from 1960–2014, the exhibition intends to act as an extensive overview of the artist’s career, tracing…
The Parted Veil
Through June 30, 2019
16 Irish artists use photographic images to consider ideas of remembrance and…
16 Irish artists use photographic images to consider ideas of remembrance and celebration, and especially to reflect how…
Bauhaus Beginnings
Through October 13, 2019
The exhibition considers the school’s early dedication to spiritual expression and its…
The exhibition considers the school’s early dedication to spiritual expression and its development of a curriculum based on…
La Dépense / Francis Alÿs
Through Feb 24, 2019 / Rockbund Art Museum

Francis Alÿs / Tornado

The Rockbund Art Museum will present the first large-scale solo exhibition in China by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs, La Dépense, through February 24, 2019, curated by Yuko Hasegawa.

 

Francis Alÿs / Tornado

Francis Alÿs / A Story of Deception, Patagonia, Argentina

One of the most influential artists of the contemporary period, Francis Alÿs lives and works in Mexico City. Arriving there in 1986 armed with an architectural education, Alÿs began to make works that revolved around the city’s distinctive local culture, history, and society, ultimately expanding his artistic inquiry to a range of locations around the world that he has traveled to and spent time getting to know. With his acute poetic and imaginative powers of perception, Alÿs raises questions about anthropology and geopolitics, creating works from his close observations of everyday life. He has had numerous major exhibitions, including at the Tate Modern in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, among many others. La Dépense, the artist’s first institutional solo exhibition in China, will present close to 1300 works, including drafts, videos, sketches, paintings, drawings, and other preparatory works, some of which have never been seen by the public before, offering a rare glimpse into the artist’s working methods.

 

Francis Alÿs / Le Temps du Sommeil

Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs

The exhibition’s title La Dépense, which translates as “consumption,” refers in particular to the theories of French philosopher Georges Bataille. As the curator Yuko Hasegawa notes, “In a China transformed by a fast-paced transition to capitalism and the efficiencies of technology, excessively ‘non-productive consumption’ (dépense improductive) is just as important in human activity as productive consumption.” Such a notion is tightly wound into Alÿs’ artistic practice, which Hasegawa commends for “courageously grappling with the status quo; casting doubts on our visual sense; rethinking the meaning of the labor of manual work and what it means to consume time: these are among the subtle messages from Alÿs’ work that can be applied to the situation in China.”

 

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception”, 2011, Museum of Modern Art

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception”, 2010, Tate Modern

From 2000 to 2010, Alÿs returned to the plateaus outside of Mexico City at the same time every year with a handheld video camera, boldly rushing towards the tornadoes that would form there during the dry season so that he could enter the eye. Capturing the extreme tension between the swirling exterior and the tranquil inner core, this well-known video work, Tornado (2000-2010), visually narrates this fundamentally non-productive act. As Alÿs has stated, “we of our times must create fables.” The large number of tornado sketches that the artist amassed during this decade – the entire process of production, from conception to video editing – will be displayed to the public, revealing a rarely seen facet of the work. Similarly, in the latest video work Exodus (2014-2018), a girl repeatedly braids and unbraids her hair. For this less-than-one-minute long video, the artist created close to 1000 hand-drawn sketches, which will also be presented in the exhibition. As the curator explains, “Here you will find direct encounters and physical involvement of the sort gradually threatened and forgotten by our digitized world, as well as suggestions that make us aware of, or recognize anew, the value of manual work.”

 

Francis Alÿs / Silencio

Francis Alÿs / The Loop

Alÿs has always maintained a consistent creative trajectory while pursuing new ideas and projects. For instance, in the ongoing body of work Le Temps du Sommeil (1996-), the artist has devoted over 20 years to continually reworking the same 111 small oil paintings on canvas, with the total number of canvases never changing. This exhibition will include new paintings from Alÿs’s 2017 Nei Mongol (2017) series, which were made during trips that Alÿs took last year to Shanghai and Inner Mongolia. These works recall the series The Loop (1997) made during his first visit to Shanghai in the 90s, a journey where the artist continually traveled in a South East direction around the world. This ensured that the artist undertook the longest possible route back to his departure point, such that his journey would finish on the border separating Mexico and the USA, but from the other side. This epic of anti-economic creative logic offers a good example of the principle “maximum effort, minimum result” that could be read as the postulate running behind the works on display in this exhibition.

 

Francis Alÿs / Exodus

Francis Alÿs

For the duration of Francis Alÿs: La Dépense, Rockbund Art Museum will host a series of public education events, including lectures and workshops, allowing viewers to further engage with the ideas found in the artist’s work. For the occasion of Alÿs’ first institutional exhibition in China, an exhibition catalogue will be published. The exhibition coincides with the artist’s participation in the 12th Shanghai Biennale at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

 

Francis Alÿs: La Dépense
Through Feb 24, 2019 / Rockbund Art Museum
Curated by Yuko Hasegawa
Visit the exhibition page >