Francis Alÿs


Society allows (and maybe expects) the artist, unlike the journalist, the scientist, the scholar, or the activist, to issue a statement without any demonstration. This is what we call "poetic license." This condition leads to a series of questions: Can an artistic intervention truly bring about an unforeseen way of thinking, or is it more of a matter of creating a sensation of "meaningless­ ness" that shows the absurdity of the situation? Can an artistic intervention translate social tensions into narratives that intervene in the imaginary landscape of a place? Can an absurd act provoke a transgression that makes you abandon the standard assumptions on the sources of conflict? Can those kinds of artistic acts bring about the possibility of change? In any case, how can art remain politically significant without assuming a doctrinal standpoint or aspiring to become social activism?

For the moment, I am exploring the following axiom: sometimes doing something poetic can become political and sometimes doing something political can become poetic.