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Francis Alys @ IMMA

March 3, 2010

Today I decided to go on an exhibition hunt – it’s been a while since I’ve been down to IMMA and I heard there’s a new show by Francis Alys which I was intrigued about. The exhibition is called Le Temps du Sommeil and runs until 23rd May. I have to say it is definately a must see – I really enjoyed it. The exhibition itself consisted of 111 postcards with text accompanied by tiled drawings of surreal images. I like his ‘diary-style’ technique which is reflective of his explorations in the cities he’s lived in. He records things that he does and sees, giving instructions almost for the viewer to undertake their own personal adventure through their surrounding locality. (Well, at least I felt influenced to attempt these directives! – I think I will find it of help to get a starting point in my own practical work.)

Below is an exerpt and some images taken from the IMMA website, in it he talks about how walking around a city is often how a project can take shape. Perhaps a few wanderings around the city is a must for me at the moment.

Belgian artist Francis Alÿs is a compulsive wanderer, whose personal explorations of the cities in which he finds himself form the basis for an eclectic body of work. Working with documentary film and photography, video, painting and performance, he compiles a succession of notes and guides, in a highly individual style, which reflect specific social and economic conditions, particularly political subjects such as border disputes and economic crises. A close observer and occasional manipulator of the quirks of everyday life, Alÿs responds to fleeting and contingent circumstances from the view-point of a passer-by, who is at once involved and separate.

For his exhibition at IMMA Alÿs presents his on-going series Le Temps du Sommeil, which he began in 1996 and which currently comprises over a 100 paintings some being works in progress. Accompanied by instructions and postcards which resemble a diary, the work relates in an oblique way to visions of games and exercises seen in many of his actions and films. This series is being shown at IMMA before it travels to Tate Modern, the first stage in an international retrospective of Alÿs’s work.

In 1993, while in Mexico City, Alÿs described his working process “…I spend a lot of time walking around the city… The initial concept for a project often emerges during a walk. As an artist, my position is akin to that of a passer-by constantly trying to situate myself in a moving environment. My work is a succession of notes and guides. The invention of a language goes together with the invention of a city. Each of my interventions is another fragment of the story that I am inventing, of the city that I am mapping.”

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