Francis Alÿs (Antwerp, 1959) lives and works in Mexico City and is one of today’s most influential artists. In his practice, he employs a variety of media, ranging from painting and drawing to video and animation. Using diverse poetical and allegorical approaches, Alÿs explores political subjects as well as daily situations: pushing a melting block of ice through city streets; filming his efforts to enter the center of a tornado; carrying a leaking can of paint along the contested Israel and Palestine border; equipping hundreds of volunteers to move a colossal dune. These “interventions” are documented through video, immediately raising the question of “where” Alÿs’ artwork is located. Is it in the performances and actions, even though these mostly did not involve spectators? Are the videos more than mere recordings?
This collection is presented on the occasion of the exhibition Francis Alÿs. The Nature of the Game at WIELS (7 September 2023 to 7 January 2024) and offers a small selection of the artist's extensive video work.
A videotaped journey of a plastic bottle as it is blown by the wind around Mexico City’s main square, the Zócalo.
Francis Alÿs pushes a large block of ice through the streets of Mexico City and leaves a trail of meltwater.