Children’s Games, a series of short videos initiated by Francis Alÿs in 1999, wanders through the childish activity of play in the fashion of a visual inventory. The artist focuses his exploration on the uses of the public space. Towns and villages, places of rest and zones of conflict or suspense – like a Yezidi refugee camp in Iraq in 2016 – welcome the topographic imagination in which the playful activity takes place. A symbolic order and its possible reinvention resonate in the rules shared between each game. In Mexico, Venezuela, Belgium, France, Jordan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq and Nepal, recreation blends with ritual and the redevelopment of experience, while the artist and his camera are challenged to a form of participation. The choice of a point of view and the accompaniment of a movement condense the furtive space-time like a hand-drawn sketch or diagram on the motif.
Francis Alÿs first turned to architecture – he trained at IUAV in Venice – before launching into his artistic practice in Mexico. Since the 1990s he has been developing a conceptual body of work through displacement, wandering and encounter.