Francis Alÿs: Ciudad Juárez Projects

Art Free
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4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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If you’re the kind of person who thinks walking isn’t art, Belgian-Mexican artist Francis Alÿs’s show may not be for you. He's been doing art-walks for years, and in the standout work here – his first London show since his awesome Tate exhibition in 2010 – Alÿs kicks a flaming football on a long walk through a desolate Mexican border town called Ciudad Juarez. It’s mesmerisingly atmospheric. In another film, kids play hide and seek in derelict buildings, spying on each other with mirrors. A handful of bleak, dark postcards from Ciudad Juarez are pinned to the walls in the main gallery, while three small but neat paintings of burning cars and kids with mirrors hang upstairs. Alÿs isn’t big on going big, these are small, quiet, barely noticeable works, but their subject matter – a deeply impoverished, sad Mexican border town – is properly powerful. Get over the size of the works, and accept that walking can be art, and you’re on to a winner. 

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