The European Biennial of Contemporary Art

28 June 31 October 2014

St. Petersburg, Russia The State Hermitage Museum

Francis Alÿs

Study for Lada project

Francis Alÿs Draft for Lada Kopeika project.
Collage with gold leaf 11.5 x 13 cm
Courtesy of the artist

Born 1959 in Antwerp, Belgium
Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico

Francis Alÿs studied architecture at the Institut d’Architecture de Tournai, Belgium, and urbanism at the Instituto Universitario de Architettura di Venezia, Italy, before moving to Mexico City in 1986. He started creating work that recorded the actions of local residents’ everyday lives but also undertook actions that raise questions of futility and failure. In one iconic early project, he pushed a block of ice around the streets of Mexico City until it melted. Alÿs’s other projects address such fraught issues as national borders and political conflicts, like border crossings between Mexico and the USA and the 1948 border between Israel and Palestine. His work is sometimes constituted by actions and their documentation, sometimes by the media of painting and drawing. Alÿs has had solo exhibitions at such venues as the Musem of Modern Art, New York (2011), the Tate Modern, London (2010), Wiels in Brussels, (2010), Schaulager in Basel (2006), Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin (2004), and the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (2002), among others. He has also participated in many biennials, including Documenta 13 (2012), the Venice Biennale (2007, 2001, 1999), the São Paulo Bienal (2010, 1998), and the third Bienal Iberoamericana de Lima (Peru, 2002).