In many of his projects politics and poetics seem to intertwine as he concerns himself with the everyday life of a city, the economics of modernisation and the division of space. I am interested in his standpoint on this as I am often given the question of whether I consider my work to have a political agenda. His works are first and foremost poetic, transient and open to interpretation. And yet the question lingers as to whether these poetic acts that reflect upon particular real situations can also create a space for new ways of thinking, that will lead in turn to ‘the possibility of change.’ Alys does not want his practice to be overtly political but instead believes that,
“Through the gratuity or the absurdity of the poetic act, art provokes a moment of suspension of meaning, a brief sensation of senselessness that reveals the absurdity of the situation and through this act of transgression, makes you step back or step out and revise your prior assumptions about this reality.”
(ALYS, F. (2007) Francis Alys, interview with Russel Ferguson, London, p.40)
I feel that, similarly to Francis Alys, I am trying to use the language of an artist to make a poetic response to my surroundings. This may have a social dimension or become a political comment, but that has to happen within the experience of the poetic act.
Photograph from David Zwirner, New York. Francis Alÿs on his walk through Jerusalem in 2005, in which he retraced the Green Line with a leaky paint can, part of an exhibition at the David Zwirner gallery in Chelsea.