Rue du Portugal, Tanger - Oct 2007, 2007

Basel 2019
Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Oil on canvas mounted on wood
13.0 x 18.0 (cm)
5.1 x 7.1 (inch)
"Age Piece" is the title of an ongoing (1982 to present) series of postcard-size paintings by Francis Alÿs. Executed in the tradition of classic "plein air" painting, these works allude to the conditions of global tourism in the contemporary art scene. Many of the paintings were done while scouting new locations for future film projects, often in conflict zones such as Israel and Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. The place where the painting was executed, as well as its date consisting of a month and the year are often inscribed in the bottom of the paintings. A selection of works from this series was recently on view at the 2018 Liverpool Biennial (cur. Kitty Scott). "Rue du Portugal, Tanger - Oct 2007" is related to a larger group of works entitled “Don't Cross he Bridge Before You Get to the River”, also known as the "Gibraltar Project“. In 2008 Alÿs performed an action that attempted to connect the European and African continents around the Strait of Gibraltar by aligning groups of children in the water on both shores. The work, which consists of video documentation of this action and other media such as paintings, drawings and installations, narrates the event from multiple angles. Alÿs recruited children and used model boats made by hoisting sails on beach sandals and traditional Moroccan sandals. Two groups of children, approximately one hundred, each, holding a “shoe-boat” left the beaches of Tarifa, Spain, and Tangier, Morocco respectively, and proceeded in the opposite direction in an attempt ot meet beyond the horizon. For Alÿs, “the Strait of Gibraltar stands for the contradiction of our times: how can one promote global economy and at the same time limit the global flow of people across continents?“ For many years, Alÿs has continued to explore themes relating to the movement of people and the borders controlling it.