Art In America

Francis Alÿs

at David Zwirner,,

525 W 19th St

The riveting Reel-Unreel shows young boys rolling film reels throughout the craggy, dusty streets of Kabul, unfurling lengthy spools of celluloid behind them as they go. The action refers to recent history and its aftermath, specifically a Taliban raid just days before 9/11 on the Afghanistan National Film Archive in which all the prints stored there were set alight. Small paintings of Afghan scenes superimposed with television test patterns are, the artist has said, expressions of his inability to represent the endemic violence of the nation in paint.

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