‘Le Sommeil du temps’ by Francis Alys


‘Le temps du sommeil’ by Francis Alys Installation shot at Secession Vienna, November 2016

Like a cobweb of knots that spans accross the entire city.

A sequence of 86 paintings with little images of comtemplative scenes started for me with a work showing two strings that span a virtual triangle accross the exhibition room.

Like immanent in his works Alys creates  a little story that he sequences and catch our eye like being drawn into the little boxes he painted upon, waiting to be addressed and sent out into the world.

When I received the invitation card at home I pondered about my knowledge about Francis Alys and first kept the post cards in my bag for a while before I came home again and started to search my library for my long-time favorite book, ‘The lost clown’. Soon after I read the second book I got by Alys from my time at Lisson Gallery in London, where my additional payment to £ 400 a month was to take home a book every week so I added up an entire library after my two years time at Lisson Gallery.


Paradox of Praxis 1 (Something leads to Nothing), 1997 Installation shot at Secession Vienna, November 2016


Paradox of Praxis 5, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico (Sometimes we live as we dream and we dram as we live as we dream), 2013 Installation shot at Secession Vienna November 2016

Like immanent in his works Alys creates a little story that he sequences and hands over to the people that follow his path. In his two short films he counter-positions the pushing of a large ice-cube accross the city to the kicking of a fire ball accross a country field. As the ice cube melts in his first performance, at about the same amount of time the fire is extinguished in his second performance. The element of water therefore prevails the fierce burning of the fire ball and there is nothing left but a small ice-cube and some sparks of light.

In his work ‘Zocalo’, Alys asked people to stand in the shade of a flag pole in the midst of a Mexican square with the same name, and to follow the shade during the entire day, therewith portraying time that passes by like a sun clock that never shows the exact time.

Most works by Francis Alys are participatory but like with the work  ‘Rainbow’ by Olafur Eliasson always remember that there is more to life than working 24/7 not to be drawn into a continous time-loop, a day-dream. So take time to pause and stop leaving more to learn for another day.

Francis Alys is represented by Lisson Gallery, London


His exhibition at Seccession Vienna runs until 22nd of January 2016


Daniela Haberz, M.A.

Independent art critic & Curator

AØH Art Consultancy Haberz

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