amsterdam

“I’m Not Here. An Exhibition Without Francis Alÿs”

De Appel arts centre

With solo shows in three major European institutions this year (London’s Tate Modern, Brussels’s Wiels Contemporary Art Center, and the Bonnefantenmuseum, in Maastricht, the Netherlands), Francis Alÿs seems to be everywhere you look. So this group show, curated by the six participants in this year’s de Appel Curatorial Programme, was timely indeed. Presenting a thoughtful selection of work by fourteen artists (none of them Alÿs), the curators conjured the atmosphere of Alÿs’s multifaceted, sometimes elusive oeuvre, without actually showing any of it. Their Barthes-inspired aim was to critically deconstruct the traditional exhibition model of the retrospective. But the storytelling component of Alÿs’s work also formed a point of departure. To this end, Alÿs himself was quoted in the exhibition materials as once remarking, “Maybe you don’t even need to see the work, you just need to hear

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