August 29, 2006 - Portikus - Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception
August 29, 2006

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception

Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception / Historia de un desengaño, Patagonia 2006
in collaboration with Olivier Debroise und Rafael Ortega
Courtesy of the artist and Peter Kilchmann Gallery, Zurich.

Francis Alÿs
A Story of Deception

Sept. 2-Oct. 15, 2006

Opening: September 1, 2006, 8 p.m.

PORTIKUS, Frankfurt am Main
Alte Brücke 2 / Maininsel
60311 Frankfurt am Main

info [​at​]
T: 49 69 9624454-0
F: 49 69 9624454-24

The exhibition of Francis Alÿs (*1959 Antwerp/Belgium) A Story of Deception includes the film of the same name that originated from a collaboration with Olivier Debroise and Rafael Ortega in Patagonia in the spring of 2006 as well as documentation material, on display in vitrines. The project began in 2003 with the intent to follow up on a story that Alÿs had heard while undertaking historical-geographical research in the Argentinian Pampa. The story tells how the Tehuelche people from Patagonia congregate seasonally to track flocks of the local flightless birds nandus over hundreds of kilometres until they collapse from exhaustion. I was fascinated by the absolute simplicity of the technique, and of course the use of walking as a weapon, as a hunting method.

Alÿs has used walking as a medium in many of his earlier works where movement evokes situations with unexpected twists and turns. In this current project, instead of realising an image from this story, Alÿs has used the narratives metaphorical function as a starting point.

While shifting through his collected film and photographic materials, illusions emerged on the horizon of a dusty, endless highway. Alÿs followed this phenomenon of atmospheric refraction as he attempted to capture the ever-vanishing vantage point and what lies behind it in the picture frame. The approximately two minute long 16mm film shows nothing more than a trip along a highway, where the incessantly blurring horizon has been displaced by the heat, and therefore visually unreachable. The mirage lies at a tangible distance on the horizon only for a moment, before it vanishes again. Without the movement of the viewer/observer, the mirage would be nothing more than an inert stain, merely an optical vibration in the landscape.

Supported by

PORTIKUS, Frankfurt am Main

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