Francis Alÿs

3 4 1

2004
Having previously collaborated with Mexican sign painters who created works that served as the basis for his subsequent paintings, here Francis Alÿs explores what it means to repeatedly copy his own images. These three scenes, as in the drawings below, occur separately throughout the artist's later oeuvre. However "341" (a numeric pun indicating that the viewer actually gets three paintings for one) marks the first time Alÿs specifically combined and abutted motifs borrowed from his own lexicon of painting against one another on a single canvas. As it shares an affinity with devotional paintings from the Catholic tradition, the tableau's intense calm calls the viewer to approach it with reverence. Yet, the ambiguity of the scenes resists both a concrete narrative and ties to a specific religious doctrine. Remarking that these works represent "little windows" into a more spiritual plane, Alÿs may in fact be using this imagery to develop his own iconography, or spiritual language.
Title
3 4 1
Date
2004
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil and encaustic on canvas, accompanied by 10 preparatory drawings in oil and graphite on tracing paper with collage of wove and photographic paper
Dimensions
painting: 37.2 x 28.5 cm
Nationality
Belgian
Credit line
Purchased 2006
Accession number
41748.1-11