Francis Alys A Story of Deception exhibition banner

Alÿs has often been drawn to the narrative and visual clarity of fairy tales, and children’s book illustrations, inspired by the concise and yet enigmatic nature of this material. Recently he has started a series of videos of children’s games. Caracoles 1999 (in room 6) shows a boy kicking a bottle up a hill, an apparently futile task but one which the boy persists in. Sandcastles 2010 (in room 10) circles around three boys building a structure that is eventually washed away. Echoing some of the images in his larger actions, these videos also bring out a precarious optimism in Alÿs’s practice: passed on by hearsay through generations, children’s games reinterpret the world and often imagine it anew.