artist / participant
Francis Alÿs. The Logbook of Gibraltar
31.08.2018 - 04.11.2018
Opening reception: August 30, 6–8pm
Art Sonje Center proudly presents Francis Alÿs’ first solo exhibition in Korea, titled The Logbook of Gibraltar, from August 31 to November 4, 2018. Francis Alÿs, who was born in Belgium and moved to Mexico in the mid 1980s, portrays his views on the contested borders and socio-political concerns of international society including Mexico City with his painterly moving images and drawings. In the exhibition, The Logbook of Gibraltar, he uses his typical metaphoric and poetic language to present geopolitical issues from regions where conflicts regarding national borders persist, centering on Havana (Cuba), Key West (U.S.), and the Strait of Gibraltar between the African and European continents.
In the exhibition, Alÿs presents a series of his recent works including a two-channel video, Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River (2008) as its key part on the second floor of Art Sonje Center. The Strait of Gibraltar was a strategic location, and the center of conflict between the great powers. Its width, which is only 13 km, could hypothetically make it possible to connect Africa and Europe with boats, and this idea is coupled with kids’ imaginations and poetic gestures. In this project, kids from Spain and Morocco start from either side of the coast with boats made of shoes in hand, attempting to meet at the horizon.
On the third floor, a single-channel video, Bridge/Puente (2006) will be installed. Bridge/Puente, the first iteration of his bridge projects, is a commentary on the tension between the Cuban immigrants and the U.S. Immigration authorities. In the video, the fishermen from Havana and Key West among whom tension still lingers from the unresolved conflict start from either end of the coast to line up their boats to create the illusion of building a floating bridge. Along with the video work, Shoeboats, an installation piece with 64 pairs of shoes will be introduced. The boats the kids made out of their shoes replace physical bridges and fishing boats, thereby transforming the kids into giants from fairy tales who walk towards the horizon. This project becomes a fable with kids’ games used to illustrate the belief in the possibility of change.
This exhibition also presents Francis Alÿs’ works with diverse media, including 22 paintings, video pieces and installations such as Painting/Retoque (2008), a film that follows the process of repainting a weathered centerline on a road in the Panama Canal Zone as a metaphor for the symbolic divide that determined the destiny of North and South America; and The Loop (1997), a reaction to the United States' ever-tightening immigration policies.
Born in 1959 in Antwerp, Belgium, Alÿs moved to Mexico City in 1986, where he continues to live and work. Over the past decade, he had exhibitions at prominent venues, including Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (2017); the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) - Fundación Costantini in Buenos Aires (2017); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana in Havana (2017); the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City (2015); documenta 13 (2012); The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2011); Tate Modern, London (2010).
Curated by Sunjung Kim (Gwangju Biennale Foundation, President)
Assisted by Heehyun Cho (Assistant Curator, Art Sonje Center)
Organized by Art Sonje Center
Supported by Maeil Dairies Co. Ltd, Embassy of Belgium