The Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI presents Francis Alÿs. When faith moves mountains (2002). Two decades later. This exhibition will immerse visitors in the extraordinary work of the renowned Belgian artist, Francis Alÿs, exploring a momentous milestone that took place in Peru on April 11, 2002.


On April 11, 2002, several hundred people joined forces to move a dune a few centimeters from its original location. The work, entitled When Faith Moves Mountains, was a heroic and absurd action that evoked the immense cost of social progress while affirming the need for collective action and change. Conceived in the twilight of the Fujimori dictatorship, at the beginning of a new stage of democracy in Peru, Cuando la fe mueve montañas also proposed to mark an era of challenges and changes that wanted to defy pessimism and despair, with a surprising gesture: a profane miracle.


Beyond that political sense, the action proposed a series of meditations and images. Carried out in the middle of the so-called "young towns" of the district of Ventanilla, the work reflected on the importance of the incessant settlements of immigrants from the interior of the country in the new configuration of Lima as a megalopolis. The event was governed by a paradoxical slogan that criticized the dogmas of economic rationality: "Maximum effort, minimum result". In addition, the action anticipated the importance that the proximity of the terms "politics" and "poetics" would have in Alÿs' work, as well as in the artistic research of the new century.


Two decades later, this exhibition explores the documentation left by this action that has become a reference point for the social turn in the art of the 21st century and in the memory of contemporary art in Peru. Beyond reconstructing its history, we believe that the poetic voluntarism of this action is once again relevant in a turbulent moment of history.

Trained as an architect and urban planner, Francis Alÿs moved to Mexico in 1986 to work with local non-governmental organizations. In 1990 he entered the field of visual arts, where his practice expanded to techniques ranging from painting and drawing to video and photography. Although his studio is located in Mexico City, over the past 20 years Alÿs has carried out numerous projects in collaboration with local communities around the world, from South America to North Africa and the Middle East. One of the most most representative projects was in Peru: When Faith Moves Mountains, Lima, 2002.


Between 2016 and 2020 he has participated in a series of projects in Iraq, such as Hopscotch (2016), in co-production with the Yazidi refugee camp of Sharya, Duhok, Iraq, or Color Matching (2016), filmed while accompanying the Kurdish army as a war artist while the city of Mosul was under siege. In 2020, he premiered his feature film Sandlines - shot in collaboration with Julien Devaux and the children of a small village in the mountains of Nineveh province - at festivals such as Sundance, International Film Festival Rotterdam, FID Marseille, among many others.

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