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Francis Alÿs
Guards
London, 2004-05
In collaboration with Rafael Ortega and Artangel
Video documentation of an action (30 minutes)
Courtesy David Zwirner, New York

 




Exhibitions

Francis Alÿs: Guards

December 15, 2012–March 31, 2013

Belgian artist Francis Alÿs's video Guards (2005) documents sixty-four of the Queen of England's guards on a "walk" throughout the City of London. There is perhaps no more symbolically unemotional character than that of a bearskin-hat-wearing guard of the Queen of England. Yet even with no break in the guards' indifferent exterior, the tale still manages to be a powerful metaphor for the human condition. Many of the elements of Guards are found throughout Alÿs's work: walking, rhythm, the use of the street and bridges are all common tropes in his oeuvre. These strategies, evoking the poetic and sonic palette of the urban environment, involve a sometimes loose and other times overt relationship to social resistance and to the symbolic and often political implications of these actions.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the Susan and Richard Gutow Fund.