Francis Alÿs’ work is at once surreal and anchored in everyday experiences of city life. Much of his work occurs in or directly references urban streets and has a peculiar, awkward charm that highlights the strangeness of the ordinary.
Both ‘New York triptych’ and ‘Three men in cravats triptych’ draw upon the vernacular of Mexican sign painting, blurring the boundaries between commercial and fine art practices. Taking up the themes of repetition and authenticity, these works are collaborative, with Alÿs making a small painting that local sign painters then reproduce on a larger scale, each painter inevitably imbuing the image with their own subtle shifts in style and scale.
oil on canvas, enamel on metal series consisting of one painting by Francis Alÿs (left) and sign paintings by Enrique Huerta (centre) and Emilio Rivera (right)
a) 13.5 x 15.8 x 2.0 cm b) 91.0 x 120.0 x 4.0 cm c) 60.0 x 75.0 x 2.0 cm :
a - oil on canvas; 13.5 x 15.8 x 2 cm
b - enamel on metal; 91 x 120 x 4 cm
c - enamel on metal; 60 x 75 x 2 cm
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r.verso panel b, black fibre-tipped pen "... F. ALŸS - 1995-6 ...".
Signed and dated l.l. verso panel c, black fibre-tipped pen ".../ F. ALŸS/ 1995...".
John Kaldor Family Collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
© Francis Alÿs. Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, 18 Apr 2003–06 Jul 2003
Seven artists from the John Kaldor Family Collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 May 2015–26 Apr 2016
Referenced in 2 publications
Adam Free, Journey to now: John Kaldor art projects and collection, Adelaide, 2003, 41 (colour illus.), 60.
Wayne Tunnicliffe (Editor), John Kaldor family collection: Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2011, 170, 174-175 (colour illus.).