The Commuters. London, 2004-2005
Retouched photograph
37 x 29.5 cm, framed
Unique in several variations

A painting is hung on the gallery wall. As the gallery opens, the carrier takes the painting off the wall and walks it through the city. As night approaches, the carrier brings it back to the gallery, hangs it on the wall and covers it with a veil for the painting to sleep. The same action is repeated the following day.
The theme of artworks passing through public space has been a recurrent one in Alÿs's work. It relates to his childhood memories of religious processions, to the poetics of the surrealist 'objet trouvé' and to a desire to break with the gravity and stillness of museum culture. However, it also refers to the modern utopia of an art that might resuscitate a lost sense of community, abolishing class, race, gender and cultural divides.

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