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.