Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs, Outskirts of Mosul, 2016. Image courtesy the artist

Francis Alÿs, Outskirts of Mosul, 2016. Image courtesy the artist

Francis Alÿs (b. 1959, Antwerp, Belgium) lives and works in Mexico City. Alÿs originally trained as an architect, but it was the confrontation with issues of urbanisation and social unrest in his new country of adoption, Mexico, that inspired his decision to become a visual artist. He consistently directs his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility towards anthropological and geopolitical concerns centred around observations of, and engagements with, everyday life, which he has described as "a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables". His multifaceted projects include public actions, installations, video, paintings and drawings. 

Francis Alÿs will present a selection of postcard size paintings at Victoria Gallery & Museum. Executed in the tradition of classic plein air painting, the paintings also allude to the condition of global tourism of our contemporary art scene. Many were done while scouting new locations for future film projects, from the Middle East to South America or China. Working in Israel and Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, Alÿs has never shied away from conflict zones. In 2016, he accepted a residency in Iraq, where he worked with local artists and refugees. On another stay, he was embedded with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces on the Mosul frontline, taking the role of a war artist documenting the fight against ISIS with brush and paint. For Liverpool Biennial, Alÿs' paintings will be displayed along a timeline going from the 1980s to today under the title Age Piece.

Recent exhibitions include Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2017); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina Napoli, Italy (2014); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan (2013); MoMA, New York, USA (2011); Tate Modern, London, UK (2010); and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2010).


Victoria Gallery & Museum
University of Liverpool
Ashton Street
L69 3DR