Pintores Mexicanos

Alys Francis

Fecha de Nacimiento(Defunción):Belgica (1959)

Francis Alÿs
Born 1959, Antwerp (Belgium)
Lives in Mexico City

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1999 Lisson Gallery, London
1998 Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
1997 Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico, D.F. 1996 ACME., Santa Monica, California.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
1995 Opus Operandi, Ghent, Belgium
1994 Francis Alÿs-Raymond Pettibon, Expo-Arte, Guadalajara, Mexico

"Arte contemporáneo de México en el Museo Carrillo Gil" no es un libro académico, ni una compilación sino un "coffetable" dirigido a un público que desconoce la producción artística actual del país.
Contiene información sobre cada artista incluido, una crítica estructurada con fragmentos elegidos del acervo nacional en la materia, una explicación sobre la técnica o tendencia de cada creador, así como la respectiva reseña curricular y ejemplos gráficos de su obra.
El repertorio de autores abarca nombres consolidados y con presencia en exposiciones y bienales internacionales como Carlos Aguirre, Silvia Gruner, Francis Alys, Francisco Castro Leñero y Rubén Ortiz. De la nueva generación, Carlos Amorales, Marco Arce, Stefan Bruggermann y Daniela Rossell.
NTX 11/05/2001 19:40

Alys's personal history might itself be a fable extracted from his work. Once upon a time - actually, at the end of 1987 - the Belgian architect arrived in Mexico as part of a French assistance program to that country's government (participation seemingly allowed our protagonist to avoid military service in Europe). With no knowledge of Spanish, the young Alys, who had studied engineering in Belgium and architectural history in Venice, quickly found himself working on the aqueducts of La Mixteca (Oaxaca), several hours south of Mexico City. On one of his days off, walking through the streets of the capital's historic center, an activity that had developed into a routine of his visits to the city, he happened to meet curator Guillermo Santamarina, a tireless promoter of contemporary art in that country. The setting was the Salon de los Aztecas cafe, a space that housed art shows and a bookstore, not far from the Zocalo, the magnificent square in front of Mexico City's baroque cathedral. Their initial conversation may have been about streets and books, but we can surely guess that before long the difficulties facing contemporary art in Mexico came up. Around that time, the Salon de los Aztecas was the meeting place for a whole new generation of artists. Almost by coincidence, Alys would encounter there those with whom he would soon begin to show his work on a regular basis: the British artist Melanie Smith and the American Thomas Glassford; and the locals Pablo Vargas Lugo, Gabriel Orozco, Diego Toledo, and Abraham Cruz Villegas. From the very beginning, Alys's work responded intimately to the environs in which it was realized, incorporating local materials and reflecting on the conditions of production in Mexico. One of his earliest works would be a poignant critique of the idealization of the Mexican pictorial tradition: three pieces of chewing gum, red, white, and green, like the colors of the Mexican flag, attached to a wall. It was in Mexico City that Alys, toward the end of 1991, would complete his first paseo, walking through the city's streets, dragging along a little magnetic dog mounted on wheels. From that point on, the fables would replace the aqueducts.

Naturally, the genealogy of Alys's perambulations is bulky. The nineteenth-century flaneur appears among the antecedents, but the hypnotic fascination that the dazzling shop windows famously exerted on the Baudelairean figure finds in Alys an infinitely more cynical and incredulous response. If Alys's strolls are fables of sorts, they are painfully crystalline ones, like the hyperreal perceptions that follow a hangover. In 1997, for example, he was invited to contribute a work to the annual edition of the InSite show, and he decided to carry out a paseo between the two host cities, Tijuana and San Diego. But he chose a path such that the border dividing Mexico and the United States would never be crossed. Over the course of thirty-five days, he traveled from Tijuana to San Diego, with short layovers in Mexico City, Panama City, Santiago, Auckland, Sydney, Singapore, Bangkok, Rangoon, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Anchorage, Vancouver, and Los Angeles. During his furious five-week itinerary, this alienated tourist stayed in touch with one of the show's curators via e-mail. Together with the documentation relating to the journey, this correspondence - itself a sort of harried, poetic diary - was presented as an archive open to the public at the CICUT library in Tijuana.

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