Forward by Andrea Viliani and Fabio Cavallucci. Texts by Francis Alÿs, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Mariam Ghani, Ewa Gorzadek, Ajmal Maiwandi, Amanullah Mojadidi, Robert Slifkin, Michael Taussig, and Mario Garcia Torres
Between 2010 and 2014, Francis Alÿs traveled extensively to Afghanistan following his invitation to participate in dOCUMENTA(13). This publication is a compilation of the films, paintings, drawings, collages, postcards, notebooks, and other documents that make up his “Afghan Projects.” Like a storyboard or archive, their documentary yet narrative structure emerges like a travel journal with images and annotations. Including texts by Alÿs, dOCUMENTA(13) curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, and several of the artist’s main collaborators, it offers rare insights into a country in transition, so often misrepresented in the media, as well as a nuanced debate about the relevance of contemporary art in the context of war. Alÿs’s engagement with Afghanistan has continued past the opening of dOCUMENTA(13)–in Spring 2013, he served as embedded war artist with UK’s Task Force Helmand, and the Afghan Projects continue to occupy an important part of his practice.
This publication accompanies the exhibition Francis Alÿs: REEL-UNREEL at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnargina-Madre (14 June – 22 September 2014) and Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle (10 October 2014 – 11 January 2015).