At the RAM, the Logic of Consumption According to Francis Alÿs
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The large monographic exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum dedicated to Belgian artist Francis Alÿs tells of world that consumes ever-increasing amounts of energy without any purpose and where people’s lives are centred around consuming and technological efficiency. On display are videos, paintings, drawings, sketches and installations for a total of almost 1300 works, some of which have never been seen before (such as the new series of paintings In the Mongols, the result of a journey between Shanghai and Mongolia) in which Francis Alÿs tells of la dépense: inspired by the reflections of Georges Bataille, the word is translated as “consumption” and refers, specifically, to unproductive consumption, which is, however, as important to human activity as productive consumption. A concept which is quite well-expressed in the video Exodus (2013-2018), where a young woman does and undoes her hair again and again, from which the artist generated almost 1000 drawings on display in the exhibition. In a dialogue with the images is the video Tornado: for ten years, from 2000 to 2010, Francis collected images of tornadoes, which he shot himself on the high plains of Mexico with a portable video-camera. A way of visually describing an act full of energy, totally violent, but also unproductive.