November 3, 2016 - Secession - Francis Alÿs: Le temps du sommeil / Avery Singer: Sailor
November 3, 2016


Francis Alÿs, Le temps du sommeil, 1996–. 111 paintings, oil, encaustic, crayon and collage on wood, c. 11.5 x 15.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich.

Francis Alÿs: Le temps du sommeil
Avery Singer: Sailor
November 18, 2016–January 22, 2017

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Francis Alÿs
Le temps du sommeil

Francis Alÿs is known for his discreet performative solo actions as well as for coordinating large-scale collective allegorical events. In Le temps du sommeil, the centerpiece of this exhibition, he presents a work whose subtlety and inscrutable quality make it a paradigmatic example of his oeuvre at large.

Le temps du sommeil (1996–) is a series of 111 paintings created over the course of two decades. They are deliberately unfinished: Alÿs occasionally alters or even overpaints individual panels—a stamp visible on the painting providing the date of each new intervention. They depict miniature scenes and often look like snapshots of simple gestures and activities that, upon closer inspection, appear to be fairly absurd. A man in a gray suit is the protagonist in many of these tableaux, sometimes joined by other actors in a similar outfit while a few pictures also feature a woman, often in a red dress.

Le temps du sommeil describes the poetic evolution of Francis Alÿs' creative practice. The pictures illustrate all what he cannot speak of. Another salient aspect of his art is the interweaving of word and image through the titles of the works. The visitor should not be misled by the fact that the pictures of Le temps du sommeil are presented together with conceptual writings and ideas for interventions and works. The texts are not intended as annotations to the images; they enter into a dialogue with them, shining a light on the complex interrelationship between visual and verbal communication.

Le temps du sommeil is shown together with the films Paradox of Praxis 1 (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing), 1997 and Paradox of Praxis 5, Ciudad Juárez, México (Sometimes we dream as we live and we live as we dream), 2013, which trace an arc from his early oeuvre to one of his most recent video work.

Francis Alÿs was born in Belgium in 1959. He lives and works in Mexico City.

Curated by Bettina Spörr

Avery Singer

The Secession presents the work of the young American painter Avery Singer, whose innovative art effortlessly integrates references to art history and contemporaneity with an exploration of the underpinnings and mechanisms of digital media.

In Sailor—the exhibition is the artist’s first solo show in Austria—Avery Singer displays a series of new pictures in large formats. Where her earlier work often scrutinized stereotypes and the rituals of the art world, a recognizable shift toward abstraction predominates in her most recent paintings. The most salient features are projected surfaces, screens within the picture, and shadows that take on a life of their own or sprawl over the bodies and objects like nets. The resulting novel pictorial spaces are characterized by an irritating interplay between the illusionistic depth of the painted volumes, the various planes of which the pictures are composed, and the flatness of the meticulously finished surfaces.

Singer’s compositions and boxy figures are based on vectorized bodies and ensembles of things she constructs on the computer using the amateur software SketchUp before projecting them on the canvas and airbrushing them. In a new series of works conceived for the show at the Secession, Singer has taken the use of digital technology in the process of creating forms and finding compositional solutions a crucial step further, employing a computer-controlled large-scale industrial airbrush printer. The device not only allows her to generate details and surfaces that could not be manufactured by hand, it also lets her confront painting with its own history by dismantling the ostensible opposition between the digital world and painting.

Avery Singer was born in New York in 1987 and lives and works in New York.

Curated by Annette Südbeck

After closing at the Secession, the exhibition will travel to the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, where it will be on view from April 27 until June 18, 2017.

Press conference: November 15, 10am
For interview requests and any other questions please contact: susanne.fernandes-silva [​at​]
Please find the press releases and images for download here from November 15, 2016.

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Le temps du sommeil
Avery Singer
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