Francis Alÿs walks a lot. He walks the streets of Mexico City, where he has made his home for the past 20 years. He has also walked the streets of San Paulo, Jerusalem and London. Observing and intervening in the huge open-air studio, Alÿs maps the city, staging scenarios and making poetic films and animations. His ideas can often be reduced to a set of simple instructions – but the work can be as monumental as moving a sand dune (a project he undertook with a thousand people in Lima), or as ephemeral as pushing a block of ice around Mexico City until it melts.
Over several years Alÿs walked the streets of London, evolving ‘Seven Walks’, an ambitious project that delves into the everyday rituals and habits of the metropolis. The walks 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.
‘Seven Walks’ is an Artangel commission, on loan from Tate.
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