The work of Francis Alÿs (b. 1959, lives and works in Mexico City) is poetic, episodic, and engaged; it addresses the problems of displacement and the absurdity of politics through seemingly futile gestures (the dripping of a can of paint, the unravelling of a sweater, the relocating of a mountain). Trained in Belgium and Italy as an architect, Alÿs settled in Mexico City in 1986 and has since developed an artistic practice that combines actions, photography, film, painting, and collaborative work to both document and participate in contemporary urban life and local histories. The activity of walking with no designated goal can be an illustration of Alÿs’s approach. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Tate Modern (London), Wiels (Brussels), and MACBA (Barcelona), among others.
This is the first experimental version of Francis Alÿs’s project "Don’t cross the bridge before you get to the river," produced between Tangier (Africa) and Tarifa (Europe). In this project, Alÿs examines notions of borders, particularly in the context of the relationship between these two locations, and freedom of movement. In the complex video installation that results, a “line of kids with shoe boats will leave Europe towards Morocco while a line of kids with shoe boats leaves Africa towards Spain. The two lines will meet on the horizon.” This emblematic image is used by the artist as a postcard to spread the information on a passage activated between Africa and Europe.