Francis Alÿs

Francis Alÿs, born in Belgium in 1959, uses poetic and allegorical methods to deal with political and social realities such as border issues, localism, globalism, conflict zones and community issues, and the gains and losses of the globalization process. .
Francis Ellis mainly completed his practice by roaming alone in the city. His book "Distance from the Studio" collected a large number of records about walking, which reflected his conception and creation process.

Francis Als likes to work in public. Most of his works are about political and social reality. His works are obviously interesting. His works can be described by a short rumor: "Maybe you don't have to see this work in person, you just need to hear it." His work has nothing to do with commerce. He is not a creator. He is a doer. Every work is accomplishing one thing. Although some of them don't look so grand, they are attractive enough. His works do not need to be understood from beginning to end. Maybe just seeing a fragment will understand what he is doing. This ability is obviously enviable. That's what I want to achieve, even though I know it's hard.

Another reason I like his works is that many of his works have a reflection of Chinese Taoism. The names of many of his works are also very interesting, such as When Faith Moves the Mountains and  Doing Something Leads to Nothing, which coincides with the core ideas of traditional Chinese Taoism. If just look at the name of the work and don't know the artist, I believe many Chinese audiences will think that he is a Chinese artist.


Green Line, Jerusalem, 2004

The "green line" of Jerusalem is the dividing line delineated by the armistice agreement after the 1949 Middle East war. This line is only a concept that exists on the map.
In June 2004, Francis Ellis walked through Jerusalem by tracking the “green line” on the map and painting a 24-kilometer line with 58 litres of green paint. The seemingly careless walk is often interpreted as a poetic gesture, and he redefines the wandering with this work.
“Sometimes poetic things can become very political, and sometimes political things can become very poetic.”


When Faith Moves the Mountain 2002

"When Faith Moves the Mountain" was created in the last months of the Japanese-born Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori, when the Chilean capital Lima was caught in a chaotic street conflict and the society was in a state of high tension.
Francis Ellis responded with an epic act. In order to reflect the absurd social fable of "the greatest effort, the smallest achievement," he summoned 500 volunteers to move the mountain together. On the second day, no one even realized that this huge sand dune had been moved a few inches.


The Night Watch 2004

This work was done in 2004 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Alÿs put a fox into an empty gallery at night; its movements were recorded by the museum's CCTV system, which is a video clip that makes up the work. Watching wildlife roaming the museum space at night, there are some unusual and totally unexpected things; sometimes we watch the empty gallery space before seeing the elusive theme we searched for. It is here that the different strategies of presenting the work give the work two distinct feelings. Working as a single screen (can be seen on the website of FrancisAlÿs), we see the progress of the fox and know that if it is not on the screen now, it will be fast. As a multi-screen work, the work - and the process of watching it - is more complicated; in this form, the glimpse of the fox feels like a rare enjoyment and a reward for seeing the right screen at the right time. In this configuration, the work also illustrates the burden of viewing and the challenge of monitoring CCTV screen banking, hoping to find any unusual things in time to prevent jt from becoming a problem. We have always been concerned, and as expected, we often resent it; we - or, anyway, I - rarely consider those who look at work.


​Collectors 2006

The tin dogs that make up Collectors were constructed in the artist’s Mexico City studio in 2006. The title of the installation alludes to one of Alÿs’s earliest works, a performance piece from 1991 called The Collector. For that work, the artist walked through the streets of Mexico City pulling a small magnetic toy dog, similar to the ones in the 2006 installation, to which various metallic objects and debris became stuck as it moved along, ‘collecting’ souvenirs of the urban expedition.