Alÿs, Francis

Born at Antwerp, Belgium, in 1959, Francis Alÿs lives and works in Mexico City. After studying architecture in Antwerp and then Venice, in 1987 Alÿs moved to Mexico City, a metropolis that the artist treats as an immense open-air workshop. Since 1991, important solo exhibitions of his work have been staged in prestigious European, American and Mexican institutions and he has participated in numerous international group shows. Alÿs’s artistic production consists of paseos (landscapes), videos, installations and paintings. Thanks to their simplified figuration and narrative and indicative contents, his paintings may be ascribed to a genre of easily read popular art. The paseos are works that project themselves as anecdotes inscribed in reality, travel diaries or journeys to the place in which the work loses or dismembers itself; that is, the urban and social context. What remain are photographs taken by passers-by, notes by the artist on people met along the way or newspaper articles. In these “strolls”, the most rigorous rationalism happily exists alongside the wildest imagination. The concept of original experience disappears completely and with it all possibility of objective knowledge or notion of absolute truth. What remains is a world made up of open lines, where the space between one and the other has to be covered without any illusion of managing to reach the final destination, where the wisest thing to do is simply “stroll” without insisting on arriving anywhere.