Francis Alÿs, detail from Ambulantes, 1992-2006. 160 35mm slides. Photograph courtesy of the artist.
Francis Alÿs The Moment Where Sculpture Happens
Feb 16 - Jue 5, 2011

Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens is presented in conjunction with the Davis’s recent acquisition of a major triptych by Alÿs entitled Cityscape (1996-97). The exhibition features the Belgian-born artist’s subtle performances and extended documentation of life in the congested colonial center of his adopted home of Mexico City. The multimedia installation, specifically designed for the Joan and Richard Freedman Gallery by the artist, in collaboration with Art Department faculty and adjunct curator James Oles, includes 35mm slide projections, video projections, and a light-table with slides and studies on tracing paper, to demonstrate the diverse range of Alÿs’s artistic practice over the past twenty years.

Key images in the show include the video works Paradox of Praxis 1 (1997) and Looking Up (Santo Domingo Square) (2001), and the slide-show Ambulantes (1992-2006).  In an adjacent space, Cityscape is installed together with preparatory drawings donated by the artist.  The Davis also presents a documentary that Alÿs produced about his collaborations with traditional sign-painters (rotulistas) in Mexico City, including those involved in the production of Cityscape.

Click here for a PDF of the gallery guide for this exhibition.

Francis Alÿs (b. 1959, Antwerp, Belgium) is one of the foremost artists of his generation, and will be the subject of major retrospective opening at MoMA in New York, NY in May 2011.  He studied architecture and urbanism in Europe, then shifted to the visual arts after moving to Mexico in the late 1980s. In the 1990s he emerged as a crucial figure in the revitalization of Mexico’s dynamic and emerging art world. Emblematic of our time, his work shifts across national borders and across media, from painting and installation to video and performance. Many of his images deal with the artist’s relationship to Mexico City, which has long remained his principal base.

This exhibition is made possible by the Wellesley College Friends of Art, whose generous support also funded the recent acquisition of Francis Alÿs’s Cityscape.

James Oles
Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art and Art Department Senior Lecturer