Francis Alÿs

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?

Alÿs’ work has been exhibited at museums such as the Tate Modern in London, the MoMA in New York, and the WIELS in Brussels, and he took part in different Biennales, including the Venice Biennale in 1999, 2001, and 2007. He is represented by the David Zwirner Gallery in New York and the Peter Kilchmann Gallery in Zurich.

In Belgium’s Pajottenland, a group of children gather for a game of unequal chances: snail racing. This video is part of the ongoing Children’s Games series.

For over a decade, Francis Alÿs chased tornadoes on the outskirts of Mexico City and captured these confrontations on film.

Francis Alÿs strolls along Fitzroy Square in London, drumming out rhythms by dragging a wooden stick on the iron railings.

A leaking green paint pot in hand, Francis Alÿs traced the disputed border between Israel and Palestine, referred to as The Green Line.

For this epic project, Francis Alÿs invited five hundred Peruvian volunteers to walk up a mountain on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, shoveling in unison, thus displacing the dune by a few inches.

In this first video of the famous Children’s Games series, a boy attempts to kick a plastic bottle up a steep road, navigating challenges from gravity, a zigzagging path, and a dog.

Francis Alÿs pushes a large block of ice through the streets of Mexico City and leaves a trail of meltwater.

A videotaped journey of a plastic bottle as it is blown by the wind around Mexico City’s main square, the Zócalo.

During the 5th Havana Biennial, artist Francis Alÿs put on his magnetic shoes and took daily walks through the streets of the city, collecting scraps of metal lying in his path.

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