Foto : Vienna Secession
Francis Alÿs & Diana Smaczynski
2016 (c) global:artfair
Le temps du sommeil
Art Talk with Francis Alÿs
Exhibition Le temps du sommeil
November 18, 2016 – January 22, 2017
Francis Alÿs is known for his discreet performative solo actions as well as for coordinating large-scale collective allegorical events. Many of these performances—both ones in which the artist features as a protagonist and the mass actions in which Alÿs himself stays on the sidelines—are now revered as classics of the genre. In Re-enactments (Mexico City, 2000), Alÿs ambled through the city holding a loaded gun until a policeman stopped him; he then persuaded the officer to repeat the entire action and record it on video—hence the title Re-enactments. The process of negotiation and interaction (with the policeman) is characteristic of the artist’s approach, whose site-specific projects broach specific local and political situations through dialogue with people rather than by addressing them directly.
Le temps du sommeil (The Time of Sleep, 1996–), the centerpiece of the exhibition of the same title, exemplifies the subtlety and inscrutable quality of his oeuvre at large. The small pictures on wood panels measuring ca. 4.3 by 5.9 inches depict miniature scenes and often look like snapshots of simple gestures and activities that, upon closer inspection, appear to be fairly absurd.
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Francis Alÿs, Le temps du sommeil, exhibition view, Secession 2016; Photo: Jorit Aust