By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Francis Alys (born 1959, Belgium)
In one project he pushed a block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it melted. In another he trailed a magnetic toy on wheels picking up bits of metal from the streets.
For "Narcotourism," he walked the streets of Copenhagen high on a different drug every day. And in New York he led a procession from the Museum of Modern Art to its temporary quarters in Queens. One hundred people carrying iconic representations of MOMA masterpieces, as well as the artist KiKi Smith, wound through the streets of the city.
Ayls' work is about passing through the world. It is about the city and community.
At the opening of the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art on Saturday, we will see "When Faith Moves Mountains," where 500 people form a human comb and literally move a mountain.
Forming a single line at the foot of a giant sand dune outside Lima, Peru, and each pushing a quantity of sand, they moved the 1,600-foot-long dune 4 inches.
"It was a tiny miracle," Ayls told Artforum writer Saul Anton.
"His work never tells any story in particular," says Anton. "But rather crystallizes an image that demands storytelling as an active, interpretive process."
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