Francis Alÿs (b. 1959, Antwerp) is a Belgian-born, Mexico-based artist. His work emerges in the interdisciplinary space of art, architecture, and social practice. After leaving behind his formal training as an architect and relocated to Mexico City, he has created a diverse body of artwork that explores urbanity, spatial justice, and land-based poetics.

Employing a broad range of media from painting to performance, his works examine the tension between politics and poetics, individual action and impotence. Alÿs commonly enacts paseos—walks that resist the subjection of common space. Alys reconfigures time to the speed of a stroll, making reference to the figure of the flâneur, originating from the work of Charles Baudelaire and developed by Walter Benjamin.

Cyclical repetition and return also inform the character of Alÿs’ movements and mythology—Alÿs contrasts geological and technological time through land-based and social practice that examine individual memory and collective mythology. Alÿs frequently engages rumor as a central theme in his practice, disseminating ephemeral, practice-based works through word-of-mouth and storytelling.

Francis Alys
Francis Alÿs
Antwerp, 1959

Current Exhibitions

The Street. Where the World is Made

Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo – MAXXI

07 Dec — 28 Apr
The exhibition gathers more than 200 works by around 140 artist to pay an homage to the street, investigated not just as a fundamental infrastructure, but also as a place crossed by multiple meanings as well as the stage of visual and physical bombardment,...

Past Exhibitions

Francis Alÿs: La dépense

Rockbund Art Museum – RAM
09/11/2018 — 24/02/2019

Francis Alÿs: The Logbook of Gibraltar

Art Sonje Center
31/08/2018 — 04/11/2018

Francis Alÿs: Knots’n Dust

Beirut Art Center 31/01/2018 — 04/04/2018

The Restless Earth

Triennale di Milano
28/04/2017 — 20/08/2017

Francis Alÿs: Le temps du sommeil

18/11/2016 — 22/01/2017

Solo Shows

Francis Alÿs: Ciudad Juárez projects, David Zwirner, London
Francis Alÿs: Le temps du sommeil, Secession, Vienna

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation: An investigation into the parallel activities of painting and performance, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City [itinerary: Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de la Habana, Havana; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto] [two catalogues published] 2015 Francis Alÿs: Hotel Juárez, Proyecto Siqueiros, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros – La Tallera, Mexico City

Francis Alÿs, Una historia de negociación, MALBA Colección Costantini, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Francis Alÿs: Relato De Una Negociación, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City

Francis Alӱs, Reel-Unreel (Afghan Project, 2010-14), Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw
Francis Alÿs. Reel-Unreel, Musée Jenisch, Vevey
La Acción Reveladora O Poética De Los Intentos, Espacio de Arte Contemporaneo, Montevideo
Francis Alÿs, reel-unreel (afghan projects, 2010-14), Museo D’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, MADRE, Naples

Francis Alÿs, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima
Francis Alÿs, Reel-Unreel, Bòlit – Centre d’Art Contemporani, Girona
Francis Alys: Seven Walks, Art Exchange, Colchester
Francis Alÿs. Gibraltar Focus, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT), Tokyo
Francis Alÿs. Cuentos, Solyanka Gallery, Moscow
Francis Alÿs, Reel-unreel, David Zwirner, Inc., New York City, NY

Francis Alÿs: Guards, UMMA – The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI
Reel-unreel, David Zwirner, Inc., New York City, NY
Fabiola, Museo Amparo, Puebla

Group Shows

57th Venice Biennale: Archaic, National Pavilion of Iraq, Venice
The Absent Museum, Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels

32ª Bienal de São Paulo – Incerteza viva, Bienal de Sao Paulo, São Paulo (upcoming)
The Coldest Winter,Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, CA (upcoming)
Solo Walks, Eine Galerie des Gehens, Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, Chur
De­tail ist al­les, Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz
Open Spaces | Secret Places. Works From The Sammlung Verbund, Vienna, Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR), Brussels
Echtzeit, Die Kunst Der Langsamkeit, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn
Trans-Pacific Transmissions: Video Art Across the Pacific, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC
Esma’/Listen, Jisr El Wati, Off Corniche an Nahr, Beirut
The importance of Being, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Breve storia del futuro, Palazzo Reale, Milan
The Natural Order of Things, Museo Jumex, Mexico City
The Gap, Abstract Art From Belgium. A Selection, Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (MuHKA), Antwerp
Nosotros ya no somos los mismos, M100, Centro Culturtal Matucana 100, Santiago

The importance of being, MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Dark Ages, AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels
True Story, Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City
Fear Nothing, She Says, Museo Nacional de Escultura, Valladolid
Argos Panoptes, Centro de las Artes, Monterrey, NL
Waiting for the Accident to Happen, Screenspace, Melbourne, VIC
Francis Alÿs, Pierre Bismuth, Mario Garcia Torres, Joachim Koester, Tris Vonna-Michell, Galerie Jan Mot, Brussels
Risk, Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent
.drawing | The Bottom Line, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent
A line is a line is a line, Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, Grimbergen
The Problem Of God, K21 Ständehaus, Dusseldorf
Brief History of the Future, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Another Part of the New World, Collection CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo of the Regional Government of Madrid and the, Moscow museum of modern art, MMOMA, Moscow
Expedition land art, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort
Mexico circa 2000, Colecction José Pinto Mazal, Instituto de México, Paris
Brief History of the Future, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
The Gap: Selected Abstract Art from Belgium, Parasol unit, London
14th Istanbul Biennial, International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul
Miradas Sobre La Colección Meiac En Su Xx Aniversario, CEART – Centro de Arte Tomás y Valiente, Madrid
Rastros Y Vestigios: Indagaciones sobre el Presente, Museo Amparo, Puebla
The Importance of Being…, MACBA – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Tower, IBID Projects, London
Station to Station, Barbican Art Gallery, London
In Search of the Miraculous, Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn
Mijn Vlakke Land, (My flat country), On photography and landscape, Fotomuseum Antwerpen, Antwerp
Atopolis, Wiels @ Mons2015, Manège de Sury, Mons
Future Present, Schaulager, Münchenstein / Basel
Every Inclusion Is An Exclusion Of Other Possibilities II, SALT, Istanbul
Terrapolis, École Française d’Athènes, Athens
Walking Sculpture 1967–2015, DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA
Wish You Were Here, MAC Birmingham – Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham
Pica: Celebrating 20 Years Reflecting On The First Decade, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, OR
O Museu a Haver, Fórum Eugénio de Almeida, Évora
(Ready) Media, Laboral, Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Gijón
Reliefs, Architecturer l’horizon, FRAC – Centre, Orleans
Printed Matters, Gesso Artspace, Vienna
Art as a Verb, Artspace Sydney, Sydney, NSW
Andy Warhol sul comò, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genoa
Hotel Juárez, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros – SAPS, Mexico City
Group Exhibiion, IBID Projects, London
Poetic Minimalism, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin
Collecting for Tomorrow: New Works at Museion, MUSEION – Museum für moderne und zeitgenössische Kunst , Bolzano
Et In Libertalia Ego, La Maison Rouge, Paris
Ejercicios De Traslado: Colecciones 9915, Centro de Arte Alcobendas (CAA), Madrid
La Répétition, FRAC – Franche-Comté, Besançon
VÍDEO-RÉGIMEN. Coleccionistas en la era audiovisual, Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid
The importance of being, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, Havana
The Lulennial: A Slight Gestuary, Lulu, Mexico City
Partial Presence, Zabludowicz Collection London, London
“Beleza?”, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915 – 2015, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London


¡Ejemplos a seguir! Expediciones en estética y sostenibilidad, Museo Metropolitano de Lima, Lima
Memórias da Obsolescência, Paço das Artes, São Paulo
Impulse, Reason, Sense, Conflict., CIFO – Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, FL
Ekphrasis, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
El Derrumbe de la estatua hacia una crítica del arte público (1952-2014), Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City
Watch Me Move. Un viaje por la animación, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL
By Proxy, James Cohan Gallery, New York, New York City, NY
Arche Noah, Über Tier und Mensch in der Kunst, Museum Ostwall im Dortmunder U, Dortmund
Zero Tolerance, MoMA PS1, New York City, NY
The Sea, Salut D’honneur Jan Hoet, PMMK – Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende
Mark The Line, Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg
Argos Panoptes, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City
Manifest Intention. Drawing in all its forms and languages, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin
Passions secretes, Tri Postal, Lille
Reines Wasser, Die Kostbarste Ressource Der Welt, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz
Art as a Verb, MUMA – Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, VIC
Good Night, Mister Procrustes, Galerie Steinek, Vienna
3 am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night, Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull
Feels Like Heaven, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
Estudio abierto 4: Máquina del tiempo, Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Zapopan
Le Mouvement, Performing the City: The City Performed, Kunsthaus CentrePasquArt, Centre d’Art, Biel/Bienne
Haperende Mens, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam
ZUR NACHAHMUN GEMPFOHLEN!, Expeditionen in Ästhetik & Nachhaltigkeit, Zollverein, Essen
Manifesta 10, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Fantôme, Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv
Broken. Slapstick, Comedy und schwarzer Humor — Sammlung Goetz im Haus der Kunst, Haus der Kunst München, Munich
En el umbral (y sólo a unos pasos de la dimensión sublime de la belleza), Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City
Destinations Improbables, Musée Ianchelevici, La Louvière
América Latina 1960-2013. Photos + Text, Museo Amparo, Puebla
Unendlicher spass, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main
The Journey, MeetFactory Gallery, Prague
Cesta, MeetFactory Gallery, Prague
This secret world that exists right there in public, RAMPA Istanbul, Istanbul
Unstable Places: New in Contemporary Art, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Liberdade em movimento, Fundação Iberê Camargo, Porto Alegre
The Disappearance of the fireflies, Collection Lambert, Avignon
Somos Libres II, Works from the Mario Testino Collection, Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin
Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944–2013, ICP – International Center of Photography, New York City, NY
3am: wonder, paranoia and the restless night, The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall
A Guest Without A Host is a Ghost, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo
A Guest Without A Host Is A Ghost, Beirut, Cairo
Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago, IL
Las lágrimas de las cosas, Centro de Artes Visuales Helga de Alvear, Cáceres
A invenção da Praia, Paço das Artes, São Paulo
Mex Pro Mexico Art Project, Museo Storico del Castello di Miramare, Trieste
Hired Hand, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Walk On – 40 years of art walking from Richard Long to Janet Cardiff, The Atkinson, Southport
Kaldor Family Collection: Artist Room #2, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, Gymea, NSW
L’image suivante…, MAC’s Grand Hornu, Musée des Arts Contemporains, Hornu
Permission To Be Global / Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, MFA – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, MA
High Performance. Die Julia Stoschek Collection Zu Gast Im Zkm. Zeitbasierte Medienkunst Seit 1996, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe
Playtime, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus & Kunstbau, Munich
Les Horizons, La Criée – Centre d’Art Contemporain, Rennes
Hans Im Glück – Kunst & Kapital, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg
Slapstick!, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Linz
Irgendetwas im Raum entzieht sich unseren Versuchen des Überfliegens, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart
Video: Action, Language, A WINDOW IN BERLIN, Berlin
Beating around the Bush Episode #1, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht
In The Near Future, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Warsaw
Variation. Lo Obsesivo Como Forma De Paisaje En La Colección Fundación Arco, Centro de Arte Alcobendas (CAA), Madrid
And I laid traps for troubadours who get killed before they reached Bombay, Clark House, Mumbai
Propaganda für die Wirklichkeit, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen
On what there might not be / Acerca de lo que podría no ser, Marso, Mexico City
O OLHO DO TIGRE, Obras da Colecção Sarmento, Appleton Square, Lisbon
Colección Recaudación 2008- 2011, Museo de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, Mexico City

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Antwerp Country of birth: Belgium Date of birth: 1959 Lives in: Mexico City