Wet feet __ dry feet is borders and games gathers for the first time in Hong Kong important recent works by the Belgium-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs, which revolving around the artist’s interest in immigration, borders, and obsession with children’s games around the world, he emphasizes his poetic, imaginative sensibility, based on geopolitical concerns and personal wishes, and based on daily life.
The connection between boundaries and games in Francis Alÿs’s artistic creation is the core of the exhibition. His latest ongoing project is Children’s Games (1999 to present), which includes more than 20 documentaries of children playing in different locations. Some of them were filmed in countries suffering from ongoing wars and conflicts, such as Afghanistan and Iraq and other places, like Nepal, Jordan, Mexico, France, and Hong Kong, and the last one is a new video tape taken by the Tai Kwun Contemporary. Without direct participation, the artist records games where children move and play games in their own way. These games also echo the etiquette, symbols, opinions, superstitions, and events of a particular society, culture, and region. Children’s games are closely related to his artistic practice-poetically involving conceptual displacement, and faintly suggesting political and social participation. The audience can observe a sense of innocence and the redemptive power of the game-universal and transcendent conventions, boundaries and borders.
When working with these children, it reminded him of his long-term observation of the children in the game, especially the use of public places to play, and the strong feeling of free movement in the “rules”.