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May 2019, English/ Chinese
14×21 cm, 160 pages, 98 color ill., thread bound
ISBN 978-3-95679-439-1
Christopher Stephens, Lin Ye
Wang Jiayi, Du Yun
Rockbund Art Museum
Out of print

The catalogue for Francis Alÿs's first large-scale solo museum exhibition in China at the Rockbund Art Museum provides an insightful and critical look into Alÿs's practices. 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. The exhibition's title, "La dépense," which translates to "consumption," references French philosopher Georges Bataille's writings on the general economy and the "paradox of utility." As 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." La dépense presents close to 1300 works, including drafts, videos, sketches, paintings, drawings, and other preparatory works. Some of the works have never been seen by the public before, offering a rare glimpse into the artist's working methods. It includes documentation of the eponymous exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum,  along with the introductory texts by curator Yuko Hasegawa, which present Alÿs's work from four aspects: Art between Ethnography and Allegory/Fiction, To Derail the Logic of Economic Thinking, Time and Life, In Closing.

The paper used in this publication has the touch and toughness of fiber. This durable material fits Francis Alÿs' reflections on a large amount of consumption in our daily life. A particular combination of Chinese and Western reading habits in the binding and typographic reading style is also a unique feature of this publication.



thread bound