Monday, May 14, 2012


Upon reading an article in Vogue about artist Francis Alÿs (which was in the May 2011 issue--I'm just now getting around to it a full year later!), I decided to check out a few of his videos.

Alÿs' best-known work is, "When Faith Moves Mountains," which he discusses here.

In, "Painting/Retoque," Alÿs repaints a median strip in the former Panama Canal Zone.

In, "Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing)," Alÿs pushes a large block of ice through the streets of Mexico City until it becomes a little puddle of water.  I can't help but wonder how many hours this took and if he took any breaks throughout.

In, "Zapatos Magnéticos," he walks through the city in magnetic shoes as bits of metal stick to them along the way.  I've noticed that shoes that light up and have wheels on the soles are all the rage.  Perhaps magnetic ones will be the next big thing.

Lastly, in a video entitled, "The Nightwatch,"  he lets a fox loose in London's National Portrait Gallery and films what ensues on the gallery's security cameras.  I have read that in making this film, Alÿs was "inspired partly by the proliferation of surveillance cameras around London, and by the number of urban foxes forced to lead a scavenger existence in the city."  Love that at minute 5:30, the inquisitive fox has had enough of exploring its art-world microcosm, jumps up on one of the displays, and curls up for a nap.  I suppose it stands to reason that Alÿs had permission from the gallery for this project.  In other words, it wasn't a surreptitious From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-type situation ☺

Here is an excellent blog post about the artist which includes plenty of interesting information, including an explanation of the concept of "paseos" and the figure of the "flaneur."

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