Contemporary Artists Series
Phaidon Press | ISBN 9780714843216
Paperback – 160 pages
Part of the Contemporary Artists series.
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In 1997 Belgian artist Francis Alys (b. 1959) created a performance work called "The Loop for InSITE", a biennial group exhibition held in Tijuana, Mexico. Addressing the idea of international borders and the contemporary ease/unease of global travel, Alys' contribution was a journey that started in Tijuana and ended in the nearby border town of San Diego - never, however, crossing the Mexico-U.S. border. The artist instead took the long way, skirting the Pacific rim from Mexico to Panama, Sydney, Bangkok, Vancouver, Los Angeles and finally San Diego. The Loop took Alys one month and five days rather a few minutes - an absurd journey that called attention to Mexico and America's frought attitudes to their shared border. Combining humour, sensitivity and an extremely personal connection to the people and places where he works, Francis Alys often employs the basic human activity of walking to create performances, photo documentation, videos, slide projections and paintings. The artist first came to international attention with a performance work called "Narcotourism" ('NowHere', Lousiana Museum, 1996) in which he walked the city of Copenhagen over the course of seven days, each day under the influence of a different drug. Alys here underlined the wholly personal experience of artmaking, as well as the hyperreal and unnatural experience of contemporary tourism, reducing his travels to completely interiorized, personal 'trips'. A very independent artist belonging to no particular group, Alys' is a unique and truly international voice in today's global art world.
Artist: Francis Alys
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