The Francis Effect

28.04.2017 – 20.08.2017 / 10:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
La Triennale di Milano
Viale Alemagna, 6
Milano, Italy


The Restless Earth

The Restless Earth borrows its title from a collection of poems by Édouard Glissant, a Caribbean writer who probed the question of how different cultures can coexist. The exhibition shares in Glissant’s project—a pressing and necessary one that tries to describe this unstable and agitated present as a polyphony of voices and narratives. Through the works of more than sixty artists from more than forty countries—such as Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Turkey—and with historical documents and objects of material culture, this exhibition charts both experiences and perceptions of migration and the current refugee crisis as an epoch-making transformation that is reframing contemporary history, geography, and culture.

The Restless Earth explores real and imaginary geographies, reconstructing the odyssey of migrants through personal and collective tales of exodus inspired by varying degrees of urgency and longing. The exhibition revolves around a series of geographic and thematic lines of inquiry—the war in Syria, the state of emergency in Lampedusa, life in refugee camps, the figure of the nomad or stateless person, and Italian migration in the early 20th century—which intersect with works that serve as visual metaphors for conditions of mobility and precariousness.

The Restless Earth focuses in particular on how artists bear witness to historic events, and how art can describe social and political change in the first person. The works on view point to a renewed faith that art and artists have a responsibility to portray and transform the world, creating not just images of conflict, but images that provide a space for critical thinking and exchange. Together, these stories—poised between historical epic and real-time diary—yield a vision of art as lyrical journalism, emotional documentary, and vivid, vital testimony. 

Artists: Adel Abdessemed – John Akomfrah – Pawel Althamer –  Francis Alÿs – El Anatsui – Ziad Antar – Kader Attia – Brendan Bannon – Yto Barrada – John Berger and Jean Mohr – Alighiero Boetti – Anna Boghiguian – Andrea Bowers – Tania Bruguera – Banu Cennetoglu and Nihan Somay in collaboration with UNITED – Phil Collins – Comitatio 3 ottobre – Constant – Thierry De Cordier – La Domenica del Corriere – Forensic Oceanography / Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani – Meschac Gaba – Charles Gaines and Ashley Hunt for Gulf Labor Artists Coalition – Giuseppe ‘Pinot’ Gallizio – Rokni Haerizadeh, Ramin Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, Manaf Halbouni – Mona Hatoum – Lewis Wickes Hine – Thomas Hirschorn – Wafa Hourani – Pravdoliub Ivanov – Khaled Jarrar – Isaac Julien – Hiwa K – Yasmine Kabir – Šajla Kamerić – Bouchra Khalili – Runo Lagomarsino – Dorothea Lange – Zoe Leonard – Glenn Ligon – Liu Xiaodong – Ahmed Mater – Steve McQueen – Aris Massinis – multiplicity in collaboration with Giovanni Maria Bellu – Paulo Nazareth – Adrian Paci – Maria Papadimitriou – 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography – Marwan Rechmaoui – Hrair Sarkissian – Thomas Shcütte – Hassan Sharif – Augustus Sherman – Xaviera Simmons – Mounira Al Sohl – Hamid Sulaiman – Rayyane Tabet – Pascale Marthine Tayou – Wolfgang Tillmans – Andra Ursuta – Dan Võ – Henk Wildschut – Zarina (Zarina Hashmi).