Sometimes, to make something led to nothing, and paradoxically, sometimes to make nothing is to make something.
Francis Alÿs: a story of deception @ Tate Modern
Another interesting exhibition at Tate Modern makes me wonder somehow we have missed the simple ideas in life?
Rehearsal, a 30-minute performance on video that Alÿs, who lives in Mexico, staged on the outskirts of Tijuana. To the joyful sound of one of the town’s famous brass bands, the driver of a battered red Volkswagen Beetle repeatedly tries and fails to reach the top of a steep dirt track. As in slapstick comedy, there is something both comical and touching about the plucky little car’s eternal optimism and unending failure.
There is an ancient Chinese myth about a foolish old man named Yu Gong who attempts to remove the mountains in front of his family home. The story has been developed into a phrase in Chinese that equals to ‘faith and persistence’. Thousands of miles away, thousands of years later, here in Lima/Peru, Francis organises five hundred labours scoop up sand, working side by side in a line that inches its way over the parches dunes. The dune moved: this wasn’t a literary fiction; it really happened. In life we are too often disappointed by failure to achieve the grand miracle… and yet we forget a small miracle is still worth celebrating.