The Moment Where Sculpture Happens

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still from Ambulantes, 1992-2006 160 35mm Slides © photograph courtesy of the artist / David Zwirner, New York
still from Paradox of Praxis 1, 1997 Video 5' © photograph courtesy of the artist / David Zwirner, New York
The Moment Where Sculpture Happens
Curated by: James Oles

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
February 16th, 2011 - June 5th, 2011
Opening: February 16th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

United States
Tuesday–Sunday, 11 am-5 pm
Wellesley College
photography, mixed-media, installation, video-art, performance, conceptual, modern


In conjunction with the recent acquisition of a major triptych by Francis Alÿs entitled Cityscape(1996-97), the Davis will present Francis Alÿs: The Moment Where Sculpture Happens, a show featuring the artist’s subtle performances and extended documentation of life in the congested colonial center of Mexico City. The multimedia installation, specifically designed for the Freedman Gallery by the artist, in collaboration with Art Department faculty and adjunct curator James Oles, includes 35mm slide projections, video projections, and a light-table with slides and studies on tracing paper, to demonstrate the diverse range of Alÿs’s artistic practice over the past twenty years. Key images in the show include the video works Paradox of Praxis 1(1997), and Looking Up (Santo Domingo Square) (2001), and the slide show Ambulantes (1992-2006; 160 35mm slides showing street vendors and deliverymen). In an adjacent space, the painting triptych Cityscape will be installed together with preparatory drawings donated by the artist and a documentary that Alÿs produced about his collaborations with traditional sign-painters (rotulistas) in Mexico City, including those involved in the production of the Davis’sCityscape.

Francis Alÿs is one of the leading figures on the international contemporary art scene, and the subject of major retrospective opening at MoMA in May 2011. He studied architecture and urbanism in Europe, then shifted to the visual arts after moving to Mexico in the late 1980s. In the 1990s he became known as a crucial figure in the revitalization of Mexico’s dynamic and emerging art world. Emblematic of our time, his work shifts across national borders and across media, from painting and installation to video and performance. Many of the artist’s images deal with his relationship to Mexico City, which has long remained his principal base.