Play can be a serious business. The Antwerp-born, Mexico-based artist Francis Alÿs, who represents Belgium at this year’s Biennale, has been investigating and documenting human behaviour through the medium of children’s games for more than 20 years. “Recording them has become a way of seeing through the patterns people live by,” says the pavilion’s curator, Hilde Teerlinck. “Some games are specific to a particular local or cultural tradition, but most are played around the world. This gives the work its universal character.”
Twelve new games filmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgium, Canada and Hong Kong will be shown in the Belgian pavilion along with a series of paintings dating from 1994 to 2021, which outline the context in which some of the films were made. “From Kabul to Ciudad Juárez, from Jerusalem to Shanghai, [the paintings] testify to Alÿs’s unmistakable poetic sensitivity to social and political issues,” Teerlinck says.
Artists: Francis Alÿs
Organisers: Hilde Teerlinck; Jan Jambon