Courtesy Francis Alÿs, photo by Mindomo
Francis Alÿs is a Belgian artist, born in 1959, in Antwerp. He is currently based in Mexico.
His work emerges in the interdisciplinary space of art, architecture, and social practice. In 1986, Alÿs left behind his profession as an architect and relocated to Mexico City.
Francis Alÿs 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.