Artist: Alÿs Francis
painting | oil on wood | 105x160mm | 1997

[...Painting landscapes and cityscapes] is easy to do because it doesn't require any imagination. We share the same immediate present. I take position in front of a potential scene, at a safe distance yet close enough to feel fully immersed in the scenery. To be exact, what I'm fully immersed in is the perception of my persona in front of the scene. By myself—how do I feel? And by the others—how am I being perceived by the people who inhabit the scene I am painting? What is it that they see? Me watching them; the verso of my canvas; and if they go around my shoulder, the scene they were playing a part in a minute ago. And what do I search for when I look at these paintings later on? The memory of how I was feeling back then, planted on the recto side of my canvas, and the perception of my self by the others, with this thin painted cardboard separating us. Notebook London, UK, November 2007 [...Painting landscapes or cityscapes] can also become a way of establishing contact along my travels. During my embed with the British army, I drew compulsively. The activity of drawing and painting provoked an opposite situation to that of filming: in the presence of a camera, the soldiers would shy away from me. But when I would be drawing or painting, they would come to spy on me and comment on the scene I was depicting. A relationship of sorts could be engaged. Notebook embed, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, June 2013


2016 Taipei Biennial – Gestures and archives of the present, genealogies of the future | 2016.09.10 - 2017.02.05 | Taipei Fine Arts Museum(TFAM)(Taibei, China)