Art Sonje Center presents Francis Alÿs’s first ever solo show in Korea. Francis Alÿs consistently directs his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility toward anthropological and geopolitical concerns centered around observations of, and engagements with, everyday life, which the artist himself has described as “a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables.”
One of the key works shown at this exhibition is “Don’t Cross the Bridge Before you get to the River” (2008). On 12 August 2008, a line of kids each carrying a boat made out of a shoe leaves Europe in the direction of Morocco, while a second line of kids with shoe-boats leaves Africa in the direction of Spain. The two lines will meet on the horizon. This project reflected a wish to fall back upon poetics, and marked a return to the way children’s fantasies relate to contemporary history. Whereas an actual attempt to close the Strait of Gibraltar by means of, say, a bridge of cargo ships would have entailed a shift from artistic practice into engineering, the absence of a bridge in Alÿs’s project permits a narrative in which shoes become vessels and children turn into mythical giants.
- Francis Alÿs, "Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River", 2008, Courtesy of the artist