Political journey

Francis Alÿs – The Loop, 1997, Tijuana – San Diego, Ephemere of an action

Francis Alÿs, The Loop, 1997, Tijuana – San Diego, Ephemere of an action, exhibition view Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception, Tate Modern, London, 2010, Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zürich, © Francis Alÿs, photo: Andrew Dunkley & Marcus Leith

In many of his works, Francis Alÿs deals with the subject of travel. The motif of movement is an essential principle of his artistic acts. The visualization of distance and proximity plays a large role here: Not only the arrival matters but also how the distance is mastered. 

In The Loop, 1997, Tijuana – San Diego, Ephemere of an action he combines a political statement with a grotesque act: Francis Alÿs travelled from Tijuana (Mexico) to the USA in a very peculiar way. The map he created shows the flights he took to San Diego. But he avoided taking the direct route across the border and flew in the opposite direction instead, around the world. His journey took him from Australia to Asia via Canada to his destination in the United States. He thus draws attention to the absurdity of national borders and border controls in a critical and poetic way.