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 formal training as an architect and relocated to Mexico City, he has created a diverse body of artwork that explores urbanity, spatial justice, and land-based poetics. 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. Alys reconfigures time to the speed of a stroll, making reference to the figure of the flâneur, originating from the work of Charles Baudelaire and developed by Walter Benjamin. Cyclical repetition and return also inform the character of Alÿs’ movements 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 theme in his practice, disseminating ephemeral, practice-based works through word-of-mouth and storytelling.
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