Francis Alÿs - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • 'I commissioned various sign painters to produce enlarged copies of my smaller original images. Once they had completed several versions, I produced a new ‘model,’ compiling the most significant elements of each sign painter’s interpretation. This second ‘original’ was in turn used as a model for a new generation of copies by sign painters, and so on, ad infinitum” … ‘by now it doesn’t matter whether you are looking at a model, a copy, or a copy of a copy.' —Francis Alÿs

    • Provenance

      Galería Ramis Barquet, New York
      Private Collection
      Phillips, New York, 20 November 2012, lot 8
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Literature

      Celia Sredni de Birbragher, 'Interview with Diana Berezdivin: The Berezdivin Collection and the Espacio 1414', ArtNexus, Arte en Colombia 111, July - September 2007 (illustrated)
      Theodora Vischer, ed., Francis Alÿs: Sign Painting Project with Juan García, Emilio Rivera, Enrique Huerta, Göttingen, 2011, p. 161 (illustrated)

    • Artist Biography

      Francis Alÿs

      Belgian / Mexican • 1959

      Born in Belgium, Francis Alÿs traveled to Mexico in 1986 as part of a French program to assist in the aftermath of the tragic 1985 earthquake, and has lived there ever since. Throughout his career, the artist has analyzed facets of everyday urban life using a variety of media including video, drawing, installation and public action. Sign Painting Project (1993-'97) is a prime example of the artist's interest in the sprawling urbanization of Mexico City. In this early series, Alÿs drew inspiration from professional Mexican sign painters (rotúlistas) who painted large billboard advertisements throughout the city. In response to these large colorful compositions, Alÿs employed a similar style in creating small-scale paintings of familiar objects and places.  Alÿs asked various rotúlistas to copy and enlarge his paintings, displaying his work and that of the rotúlista side-by-side. This series, like many of Alÿs' other works, illustrates the artist's concerns with such themes as collaboration, banality and originality.

      View More Works


Untitled (Installation of two works, in collaboration with Emilio Rivera)

i) signed and dated 'F. Alÿs 1996' on the reverse
ii) signed and dated 'Emilio Rivera F. Alÿs ©1996' on the reverse

i) oil on canvas, laid on board
ii) airbrush on metal sheet

i) 15.6 x 20.6 cm (6 1/8 x 8 1/8 in.)
ii) 92 x 130 cm (36 1/4 x 51 1/8 in.)

Executed in 1996.

Full Cataloguing

£150,000 - 200,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £239,400

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 29 June 2022