press release

The exhibition Francis Alÿs: 10 Blocks Around My House concentrates on a selection of works done over the last twelve years of Alÿs’ artistic production. They are related to the “Zócalo” – the main square in Mexico City – and its surroundings, where the artist lives and works. Alÿs’ temporary and transitory projects focus on the public and social space of the district and are produced in situations in which he is walking and exploring the streets of the neighbourhood. He creates actions in urban contexts and uses walking as a creative process.

Alÿs is Belgian in origin and trained as an architect before moving to Mexico City, where he has produced most of his work, in the eighties. The city, its immediate physical and human environment, provide him with contents and materials which are found in his drawings, paintings, videos, photographs and slides, techniques and supports which he has used simultaneously. In the nineties his best known work consisted of series of paintings done by poster artists, craftsmen who make the advertising hoardings for the city, from Alÿs’ drawings or themes; they were a criticism of the production and consumption of images in the art world, since the figure of the artist was fading behind the craftsmen’s manual reproduction techniques and the style and subject matter of the works was vanishing in repetition and variation.

In general, Alÿs’ work is closely linked to his physical actions or those of the participants, expressed through video recordings or in diagrams, collages or texts. And so Mexico City is the essential protagonist of a group of works in which the absurd becomes everyday and the monuments and buildings it is composed of live side by side with incidents, accidents, absurdities and dramas. Alÿs says: “When I can reduce an idea to an anecdote which can be easily transferred, it means it belongs to no-one; it is socialised and can be reproduced to infinity.”


Francis Alÿs: 10 Blocks Around my House
Kuratoren: Gijs van Tuyl/Annelie Lütgens, Bartomeu Mari
Produktion: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, in Zusammenarbeit mit Museu d´Art Contemporani, Barcelona