Published to accompany Francis Alÿs’ (b. 1959, Antwerp) major exhibition at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne in autumn 2021, this reference monograph is centered on some of the Belgian-born Mexican-based artist’s key motifs and features: his 30-year groundbreaking video practice, the importance of strolling and walking for his artistic method, his interest in children’s games which he has filmed in various countries since 1999.
From urban wandering to the exploration of territories and their borders documented by moving images, Alÿs’ work proposes a poetics of space through brief narratives whose finesse and accuracy invite access by the general public.
If his work questions the link between artistic act and political intervention, the artist always works by allusions, with remarkable precision and economy of means, preferring poetic polysemy to frontal political commentary, favoring the merging of planned imaginary spaces with his own fictional spaces.
This publication also focuses on Reel–Unreel, one of Alÿs’ major projects realized in Afghanistan, comprising children’s games and short videos as well as paintings and graphic works and the eponymous video Reel–Unreel (2011).
Edited and introduced by MCBA Lausanne curator Nicole Schweizer, the book features comprehensive essays by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley; Luis Pérez-Oramas, independent curator and writer, New York; and Judith Rodenbeck, Associate Professor, Department of Media and Cultural Studies, University of California Riverside, and is generously illustrated.