Taking a Look at Francis Alÿs

3341 WordsFeb 22, 201813 Pages
Francis Alÿs Francis Alÿs has startled and dumbfounded our contemporary art world time and again. As a Belgian architect turned artist, now residing in Mexico city, Alÿs is able to offer a multi-cultural approach to the problems and fallacies of today. Although Alÿs is clearly interested in themes of informal manual labor and homelessness in Mexico, failed promises to assist in the modernizing of Latin America, and society constructed limits in immigration and movement, his work tends to lend itself more towards poetic attitudes and moods of ephemera, instead of adopting a loud and violent feel. His projects rotate around ideas of magical absurdity, which leaves them open to interpretation and moves political and economic crises into landscapes of lyric, where they can be re-examined. “The most significant question he poses is whether such poetic acts, while underlining the ‘senselessness’ of particular real situations, can also create a space for new ways of thinking” (1). The way that Alÿs works reflects the fluidity of his ideas, he begins with a concept. He has spoken about being influenced by everything from fairy tales and children’s book to Belgian Surrealism and early Italian Renaissance painting, and Alÿs has even begun projects based entirely on an anecdote he has happened upon. Then come the projects themselves, which are mostly actions and events. Some of these actions require months of developing and financing, and others are modest and abrupt. Francis will
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