Seven Walks by Francis Alÿs

Probably picked this up via the Walking Artists Network…

Over several years Francis Alÿs walked the streets of London, evolving an ambitious project that delves into the everyday rituals and habits of the metropolis. Observing and intervening in the huge open-air studio, Alÿs maps the city through his walks. These are enacted in different parts of the city – Hyde Park, the City of London, the National Portrait Gallery and the streets near to Regents Park. The protagonists for the walks range from a solitary urban fox to a contingent of Coldstream Guards.

The works are currently on loan from the Tate to the Art Exchange at the University of Essex, which held Walking the metropolis, a symposium to investigate its artistic and political significance, on 8 November. Particularly taken by the thought of Richard Wentworth on The gorgeous multitasking of walking and the deep pleasures of idling.

Alÿs’s work starts with a simple action, either by him or others, which is then documented through film, drawing and animation. This exhibition includes interventions in London that range from walking for as long as it takes to get a pebble in your shoe, to persuading the National Portrait Gallery to allow a fox to be let loose in their galleries.

See the fab video of The Nightwatch, surveillance cameras observing a fox exploring the Tudor and Georgian rooms of the National Portrait Gallery. The image below is from the Tate’s website:

A Personal Repertoire of Possible Behaviour While Walking the Streets in London Town (image from the Tate)



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