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Drawings & Notes

9 June 2021
Francis Alÿs | Untitled (study for Le Juif Errant Gibraltar), 2008 | Oil, collage and pencil on canvas, 32.5 x 40.5 cm

Francis Alÿs

Untitled (study for Le Juif Errant Gibraltar), 2008
Oil, collage and pencil on canvas
32.5 x 40.5 cm

27 May – 17 July 2021
Gallery David Zwirner, Paris

Francis Alÿs
Untitled (Study for ‘Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River’), 2006-2008
Oil, encaustic, and graphite on canvas on panel
19.4 x 24.4 cm

[from the pressrelease]
Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River brings together a group of works made by the artist from 2006 onward that relate to an action that took place simultaneously on opposite shores of the Strait of Gibraltar—in Tangier, Morocco, and Tarifa, Spain—on 12 August 2008. This is the first solo presentation in Paris for the internationally acclaimed artist, who will represent Belgium at the 2022 Venice Biennale.

Alÿs is known for his in-depth projects in a wide range of media, including documentary film, painting, photography, performance, and video. Through his practice, Alÿs consistently directs his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility toward anthropological and geopolitical concerns centered around observations of, and engagements with, everyday life. The artist himself has described his work as “a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables.”

Since 2004, the artist has shifted his attention to the inherent sociopolitical conflict in border regions, making works in interstitial locales such as the Strait of Gibraltar, Jerusalem, the Turkish-Armenian border, the open water between Havana and Key West, Florida, and the Panama Canal Zone. Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River is a prime example of Alÿs’s tenet that the poetic and the political are intimately connected. Here, Alÿs again examines geographical and philosophical notions of borders as well as larger issues concerning freedom of movement. Alÿs prepared for this action, which is documented in a two-channel video, over the course of many years.

All videos included in this exhibition were created in collaboration with Julien Devaux, Ivan Boccara, Rafael Ortega and Felix Blume. On the appointed day, a line of local children, each holding a small boat fashioned from a shoe, assembled on the beach in Tarifa and a counterpart line of children holding shoe-boats gathered on the beach in Tangier. Attempting to bridge not only continents but also cultures, the two lines of giggling children waded into the lapping waves, trying to move toward each other, while the tide relentlessly pulls them back to the shore, in an effort to answer the question posed by Alÿs: “Will the two lines meet in the chimera of the horizon?”

In addition to the video documentation, Alÿs created an important group of paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Made on site as well as in the studio, they allow the artist to experiment with similar ideas and themes in a more solitary and introspective way. The paintings allow the artist to stay connected to the project throughout the different stages of the process, often over the course of several years. Alÿs also uses image as his main communication system in order to express and explain his intentions to his collaborators. Throughout his practice, Alÿs has utilized a combination of abstract and realist motifs in his paintings in order to address the inherent difficulty of representing complex concepts directly.

5 November 2019

Francis Alÿs

Untitled, 2002
Graphite, paint, and tape on vellum
33.7 x 33.7 cm

Francis Alÿs

La Théorie des Ensembles (I), 1996
graphite, colored pencil, colored chalk and tape on attached sheets of vellum
29.8 x 36.8 cm

Francis Alÿs

Untitled (Boy with Jug), 2000
Oil and pencil on cut-and-taped transparentized paper
30.5 x 20 cm

11 February 2018

Francis Alÿs

Cut, 1992-2015
Oil and encaustic on panel
40.6 x 49.8 cm

David Zwirner: 25 Years
13 January – 14 february 2018
David Zwirner Gallery, New York

Marcel Dzama

Die Verwandlung, 2017
Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper
240.7 x 167.6 cm

Jockum Nordström

På museum, 2017
Watercolor, graphite, crayon, and collage on paper
154 x 120.3 cm

Oscar Murillo

Untitled, 2017
Oil, oil stick, and graphite on canvas and linen
295.3 x 264.8 cm

Raymond Pettibon

No Title (Boston Brave), 2017
Acrylic and colored pencil on paper
160 x 127.6 cm

A weblog about contemporary drawing, scribbles, notes and an occasional painting or photograph. Click on images to go directly to original pictures, or on the links to learn more about the artist involved. 

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Drawings & Notes Weblog has been researching contemporary drawing since 2008. We recently left our old spot and moved here. Our old home will stay online, but will not be updated. Over the next period we will constantly update the archives here.