Francis Alÿs

Francis Alys

Alÿs's work stems from his interest in the powers that shape urban existence, as well as the innovative schemes that ordinary individuals devise to subvert them.
With humour, sensitivity and an acutely personal connection to his subject matter, Francis Alÿs examines the patterns of various urban sites before weaving his own fables into their tangled social fabric. From that point onward, the fables take on a life of their own. A scene as such as a Volkswagen Beetle struggling up a hill in Tijuana (Rehearsal I, 1999-2001) or a man pushing a block of ice in Mexico City (Paradox of Praxis 1, 1997) can carry a message that resonates far beyond the work’s simple parameters. As the subtitle of his walking piece The Green Line (2004) puts it, ‘Sometimes doing something poetic can become political, and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.’

Originally from Belgium but based for the last twenty years in Mexico City, Francis Alÿs is a truly international artist. He has realized works in such diverse locations as Copenhagen, Lima and Jerusalem, and his work has also been exhibited at the world’s top museums – including Tate Modern in London, Castello de Rivoli in Turin and the Museum of Modern Art in New York – and featured in the most significant international biennials – including São Paulo (1998, 2005), Istanbul (1999, 2001) and Venice (1999, 2001, 2007).

ISBN-13: 9780714843216

160 pages, 250 color & 50 b/w illustrations, 25 × 29 cm, paperback, English

Phaidon Press, Londen, 2007
€ 39.95