Throughout his multifaceted practice, Francis Alÿs (b. 1959) consistently directs his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility toward anthropological and geopolitical concerns centered around observations of – and engagements with – everyday life, which the artist himself has described as “a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables.”
Selected solo exhibitions: A Story of Negotiation, Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto / Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana / Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) – Fundación Costantini in Buenos Aires / Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2017 / 2016 / 2015 / 2015); REEL-UNREEL, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina Napoli, Naples / Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw (2014, solo); Francis Alÿs. Part I: Mexico Survey and Part II: Gibraltar Focus, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo / Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2013), A Story of Deception, Tate Modern, London / Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels / The Museum of Modern Art, New York and MoMA PS1, Long 2 Island City, New York (2010); Politics of Rehearsal, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles / Museo de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia (2007); Black Box: Francis Alÿs, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2006). His works were exhibited in important international exhibitions such as 57th Venice Biennale (2017), 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016), 14th Istanbul Biennial, Manifesta 10 (2014), Documenta 13 (2012).
Describing his practice as “a discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables”, Francis Alÿs focuses his poetic and imaginative sensibilities toward anthropological and geopolitical concerns, centered on observations of everyday life.
In the collection of videos titled Children’s Games, Alÿs captures children at play, and completely unaware of the camera’s presence. These brief documentaries are filmed in various countries around the world, collecting footage of simple games. The videos show children using only common objects as toys: chairs, coins, sand, stones or broken mirrors. Here we witness the children’s accustomed capacity to transform seemingly banal materials into objects of wonder.