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"Francis Alÿs: Seven Walks"
2005-09-28 until 2005-11-20
Francis Alÿs: Seven Walks is project that will be exhibited at 21 Portman Square, London W1 and the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2. The exhitiion is an Artangel Commission kindly supported by Bloomberg. "A journey implies a destination, so many miles to be consumed, while a walk is its own measure, complete at every point along the way."- Francis Alÿs. Francis Alÿs walks a lot. He walks the streets of the world's largest metropolis, Mexico City, where he has made his home for the past 15 years. He has also walked the streets of Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, Jerusalem and London.
Observing and intervening in this huge open-air studio, Alÿs maps the city, staging elusive scenarios and making poetic films and animations. His work can be as monumental as moving an immense sand dune (a project he undertook with a thousand people in Lima), as ephemeral as sending a postcard or as subtly humorous as having a peacock take his place at an important gathering of his peers.
Over the past 5 years, Alÿs has been walking the streets of London, evolving an ambitious new project ˜ Seven Walks ˜ for Artangel. The walks are enacted in different parts of the city ˆ Hyde Park, the City of London, the National Portrait Gallery, the streets of Regents Park. Involving a diverse range of collaborators from 64 Coldstream Guards to London commuters, Alÿs delves into the everyday rituals and habits of the metropolis. The ensuing films, videos, paintings and drawings are presented together in Alÿs‚ first major public presentation in Britain.
Following recent Artangel projects such as Gregor Schneider‚s twin houses in east London and Kutlug Ataman‚s 40 part DVD installation, Küba, in a vast empty Royal Mail Sorting Office on New Oxford Street, Seven Walks is presented within another distinctive London landmark ˜ one of the great neo-classical buildings on Portman Square designed by Adam in the late 18th century.
Born in Antwerp in 1959 Francis Alÿs trained as an architect. Following a period of study in Venice he decided both to leave Europe and to discontinue his work as an architect. He relocated to Mexico City where he has lived and worked for the past 15 years.
Recent large-scale projects by Alÿs include The Modern Procession realised to mark the temporary move of the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2001 and When Faith Moves Mountains, a major "land art" project in the hills above Lima in 2002. Alongside these public actions, Alÿs continues to make more improvised projects as well as exquisite paintings and drawings. His exhibition Ten Blocks from My Studio is currently on show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona. In 2004 Alÿs was the inaugural winner of the Blue Orange Prize in Berlin.