Francis Alÿs

born 1959

Francis Alÿs, ‘Untitled’ 2000–10
Untitled 2000–10
© Francis Alÿs
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Francis Alÿs (born 1959, Antwerp) is a Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist.

His work emerges in the interdisciplinary space of art, architecture, and social practice. After leaving behind his profession as an architect and relocating to Mexico City in 1986.

He has created a diverse body of artwork and performance art that explores urban tensions and geopolitics. Employing a broad range of media from painting to performance, his works examine the tension between politics and poetics, individual action and impotence. Alÿs commonly enacts paseos—walks that resist the subjection of common space. Cyclical repetition and mechanics of progression and regression also inform the character of Alÿs’ actions and mythology—Alÿs contrasts geological and technological time through land-based and social practice that examine individual memory and collective mythology. Alÿs frequently engages rumor as a central tool in his practice, disseminating ephemeral, practice-based works through word-of-mouth and storytelling.

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Film and audio

  • Listen

    Comrades of Time

    In this special lecture, Boris Groys, responds to the Francis Alÿs exhibition at Tate Modern with the provocative and counter-intuitive …
  • Listen

    Francis Alÿs: The Poetics of Experimentation

    Francis Alÿs’s practice encompasses political issues such as borders and migration, poetics of the everyday (as seen in his objects …
  • TateShots

    Francis Alÿs: The Last Clown

    Multiple depictions of a man tripping over a dog in a park


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