Francis Alÿs

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AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario
Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation
TALKS | Opening:
Wednesday, 7. December 2016 | 5:30-6:30 pm
Curator’s Talk and Artist Q&A in Baillie Court
6-9 pm Reception in Walker Court
6-9 pm exhibition open on the fifth floor of the
AGO’s Contemporary Tower
Exhibition:
8. December 2016 – 2. April 2017
317 Dundas Street West, Toronto M5T 1G4
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Creating art that is equal parts poetic, political, beautiful and absurd, Francis Alÿs (Belgian, born 1959) engages directly with urgent social issues, from the war in Afghanistan to border politics around the world. Organized in conjunction with the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and making its only Canadian stop in Toronto, A Story of Negotiation surveys some of Alÿs’s most significant projects of the last two decades. At the centre of this exhibition are three films: Tornado (2000–10), an encounter with dust devils to the south of Mexico City; Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River (2008), an intervention across the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Africa and Europe; and REEL-UNREEL (2011), a wry look at the depiction of Afghanistan in the Western media. Each of these large-scale video works is amplified by a selection of Alÿs’ paintings and drawings. Numbering over 100, these intimately-scaled panels form a bridge across his practice, exploring the tension between politics and poetics and connecting his performative actions with his love of the handmade.
 
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A Story of Negotiation will be installed on the fifth floor of the
AGO’s Vivian & David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art,
and is free with general admission.
Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation join exhibition curator Cuauhtémoc Medina as he discusses the ground-breaking performative works of Francis Alÿs. A Story of Negotiation depicts almost a decade of work in which the artist explores the tension between politics and poetics, individual action and ineffectiveness.
 
Medina’s remarks will be followed by a Q&A with Francis Alÿs.
 
 
ABOUT THE ARTIST
 
Francis Alÿs was born in Belgium and trained as an architect before re-locating to Mexico City in 1986, where he has been based ever since. In recent years, Francis Alÿs has created a variety of projects in which painting makes visible a practice that occurs in relation to a mobilization of social agents. This allows him to link, in a variety of contexts, diverse forms of imagination with actions of urban intervention. Alÿs produces paintings and drawings to accompany his large-scale video projects which include chasing the whirlwinds in southern Mexico City (Tornado, 2000-2010), his mythological intervention of the crossing of the border between Africa and Europe at the Strait of Gibraltar (Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River, 2008), and the war of images taking place in Afghanistan (Reel-Unreel, 2011). These projects pose very distinctive modalities of how to formulate a “beyond” of usual pictorial practice, in order to glimpse the ways in which the imagination and works on canvas and paper can serve broader sets of reflection.
 
ABOUT THE CURATOR
 
Art critic, curator and historian, Cuauhtémoc Medina holds a Ph.D. in History and Theory of Art from the University of Essex in Britain and a BA in History from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Since 1993 he has been a full time researcher at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and between 2002 and 2008 was the first Associate Curator of Art Latin American Collections at the Tate Modern. He is currently Chief Curator at the MUAC Museum in Mexico City.
 
 
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Francis Alÿs in collaboration with Emilio Rivera, Daniel Toxqui, Julien Devaux,
Elena Pardo, Rafael Ortega, Felix Blume and Raul Ortega.
Organized by the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo and the
Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C.

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